Neighbourhood Place attempts crowdfunding to keep doors open

Provincial funding for Ponoka’s Neighborhood Place has run dry so the group is taking one last stab at funding.

Provincial funding for Ponoka’s Neighborhood Place has run dry so the group is taking one last stab at funding.

The agency is using crowdfunder website Indiegogo in the hopes of gaining international interest, says Keith Williams, executive director. The group started in 2001 and was funded by the Child Family Services Authority but funding has dwindled over the years.

Williams is seeking $40,000 to give him another year at the agency. He feels he might be able to secure provincial funding with one more year available. There are other agencies still functioning in communities such as Rimbey and Lacombe but how they receive funding differs at each location.

“A lot of places just shut down,” said Williams.

Last year Ponoka had a contract with Alberta Health Services to host two 10-week sessions of a program called MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it), funding for that program is also now on hold. He hopes the program will be re-introduced in 2014 but does not have any information on what the future holds for the program.

Funding for the service agency dropped in January and Williams has been volunteering his time there since May for two days a week. Neighbourhood Place in Ponoka provides a link to other resources, said Williams. He helps people make photocopies, faxes paperwork and there are two computers at the agency people can use. He deals with 75 to 100 people a month.

“I do that all on my own hook…I care about the community lots,” explained Williams.

“If we can’t make this fundraiser go we are pretty much dead,” he added.

As of Sept. 15 the Indiegogo site had raised $100 with 44 days left to its fundraiser. Check www.indiegogo.com and search for Ponoka.