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Donation provides playground for Saanich Neighbourhood Place

Island Savings provides $50,000 to create natural wonderland behind Pearkes Rec Centre
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Island Savings president Randy Bertsch and employees surprise family-focused non-profit Saanich Neighbourhood Place, including executive director Collen Hobson, with a prize of $50,000, funded by Island Saving’s Simple Generosity initiative to celebrate Canada 150. Photo submitted

Saanich Neighbourhood Place is preparing to transform an overgrown area behind Pearkes Recreation Centre into an outdoor play area for local youngsters.

Saanich Neighbourhood Place recently received a $50,000 donation from Island Savings, part of the company’s Simple Generosity initiative which reinvests $150,000 during Canada 150 celebrations into local communities.

“Saanich Neighbourhood Place is so excited to have been chosen as the recipient of the $50,000 Simple Generosity Island Savings community grant,” said Collen Hobson, executive director of Saanich Neighbourhood Place. “The funding will be used to revitalize a 10,000 square-foot piece of property that is currently overgrown and underused. We are looking forward to creating a low impact, natural play space for young children in our community called The Little Woods.”

The funding will help transform a now-overgrown area behind their Tillicum Road location into a natural wonderland – removing invasive plants and constructing handmade wooden play structures (forts, platforms and ramps) as well as perimeter fencing to provide a secure play area.

“Communities are the core of what we do and who we are at Island Savings,” said Island Savings president Randy Bertsch. “Saanich Neighbourhood Place provides integral support services to Island families. We are proud to make a grand contribution to the development of The Little Woods – a safe and secure natural play space that will instill a deep respect for the outdoors in young children.”

The Little Woods at Saanich Neighbourhood Place was one of 46 projects that were submitted by non-profit groups for the funding grant, with more than 5,300 votes cast during a four-week public voting period. The top 10 vote getters were then reviewed by a committee made up of Island Savings employees as well as the constituency assistant for Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Sheila Malcolmson.

“It’s wonderful to see the many ways Island Savings is giving back to the communities it serves,” says Malcolmson. “This $50,000 Simple Generosity grant is a great example of how they’re investing in the well-being of communities on Vancouver Island and making a difference for grassroots organizations.”