The non-profit Comox Valley Therapeutic Riding Society hopes to extend the lease at its Headquarters Road facility in order to secure funds.
“We need funding and now we need a bigger facility,” the society’s program director Marg Hind said before members of the regional district’s committee of the whole.
The ever-evolving society would like to see its five-year lease extended to 20 years.
The program started in 1985 with physically-challenged riders then added mentally-challenged individuals. Emotionally-challenged adults and children were added to the mix in the last five years.
Hind said the 80×100 arena is no longer big enough to accommodate the program.
“We could do two classes at once in a bigger arena,” she said. “I think it would benefit the community. We could run it at night.”
Several directors expressed their support for the society.
“I know this program means a lot to the individuals,” Courtenay director Larry Jangula said.
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Dawn to Dawn Action on Homelessness has requested $700 from the CVRD to fund its Soccer for the Homeless pilot project. Pending board approval, staff recommends funding from the recreation grant service.
Most of the money ($500) would be used to purchase equipment while the remainder would provide for logistics and an evaluation process.
The society would like to initiate the program shortly at the Harmston Park soccer pitch.
Soccer for the Homeless is becoming popular world-wide, with an established event dubbed the Homeless World Cup.
According to research, 73 per cent of players improve their lives by coming off drugs and alcohol, and moving into jobs, education, homes and training.
“The outcomes we hope to monitor are improved health and self-esteem as well as improved quality of life,” Dawn to Dawn director Tom Grant states in a letter to the board. “Additional outcomes can be achieved through an annual program, but first we want to see if this is a fit for the Comox Valley.”
“It sounds like a great program,” said Comox director Paul Ives, who suggests a natural alliance could be formed with the Comox Valley United Soccer Club, which is in the midst of a turf field campaign.
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The committee approved a staff recommendation for a policy to reduce or waive user fees for the Comox Valley exhibition grounds.