Provincial funding will give 'lift' to struggling small halls, says board member

·2 min read

It's been a tough year for community halls on P.E.I.

Limitations around gatherings due to COVID-19 has meant few events and limited revenues.

Last week the provincial government announced funding for community halls.

The COVID-19 Operational Support Program for Community Halls offers grants of up to $2,500 to help with expenses such as heat, electricity and insurance.

Barbara Wood is a board member with Harbour Hall in Borden-Carleton.

Due to pandemic protocols the hall didn't reopen after it closed in March when COVID-19 first started to impact the province.

"We had things planned for the winter time then COVID hit," she said.

Travis Kingdon/CBC
Travis Kingdon/CBC

The board has been using the small amount of money left over from 2019 — and doing anything they can to keep expenses low, Wood said.

"Turn the heat down. We winterized the pipes so that we wouldn't be using the oil. So, you know, it's been really tight and we're trying to spend what little bit we have in our account that we made to do us through the winter," she said.

"Summers are OK because you don't use the heat as much. But so that's how we're getting along."

The hall was only opened for a year before it had to shut down. Wood said that means the hall didn't open at all this year — and that has eaten away at the hall's small savings account.

She said any bit of help is welcome at this point including the grants offered by the province.

"It'll give us a lift," Wood said. "It'll keep us going."

Communty halls double as warming centres

Minister of Fisheries and Communities Jamie Fox said community halls often double as warming centres during emergencies and need to be supported through the pandemic.

"These community halls are in some places, they are the fixture in the community. They're where families come together for special events."

The funding will be available by application beginning Jan. 4.

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