The 30th anniversary celebration continues for the Braefoot Community Centre as it holds its annual Friends of Braefoot Gala Thursday.
It’s been a bittersweet year as the non-profit lost a chunk of key funding from provincial gaming grants, in what was otherwise scheduled to be a season of celebration.
Braefoot is one of a few non-municipal associations in Greater Victoria to offer community programming for youth and adults, as well as physical space for similar groups.
“We didn’t get to offer the amount of programming we had hoped to this year due to funding cutbacks so we’re hoping to make a lot of that back at the gala,” said Tanis Danyluk, office and program manager for Braefoot.
This year, the goal is to raise $30,000 at the annual Friends of Braefoot dinner and auction, which returns to the posh surroundings of the CFB Esquimalt Wardroom.
The gala is also when Braefoot honours its multiple student bursary recipients, a legacy the association is proud of.
Last week, Braefoot was successful in securing a $100,000 interest-free loan from Saanich. It will use the money, and Saanich’s endorsement, to apply for a $50,000 Canada 150 Grant.
“Having a loan in place helps your chances in getting the grant, so we’re very pleased and grateful for Saanich’s endorsement,” Danyluk said.
The money will support a $112,000 plan to upgrade the community centre’s washrooms, kitchen, heating and flooring, and will repurpose the bar to become usable space.
“We need to freshen up this old building, and making it more energy efficient is also a good step,” Danyluk said.
The reality is the association has run out of room.
“Having a bit more space in the main hall will go a long way.”
Braefoot’s list of tenants and programming partners include a core of Saanich youth sport organizations such as Lakehill Soccer Association, Saanich Tigers Minor Lacrosse, West Coast Academy of Performing Arts, Pedalheads (kids cycling) and of course, Braefoot’s other half, Sportball.
Dedicated to teaching basic sport and physical skills, Sportball is run throughout community halls, schools and preschools in Greater Victoria. It helps that the local Sportball franchise is also owned by Braefoot executive director Lee Richardson. Danyluk manages programming for both.
“Sportball is run out of here and makes it possible for me to be an event co-ordinator, and office and program manager when Braefoot might not otherwise be able to afford everything, so it’s a benefit,” Danyluk said.
In July, Braefoot honoured its 30-year history with a month’s worth of events called 30 Days for 30 Years.
It kicked off with a scrap metal drive on July 2, and continued with dozens of activities such as yoga, road hockey, capture the flag, an open mic night and more.
The feedback was strong, just as it was for Braefoot’s summer youth camps, which included a Victoria HarbourCats baseball camp and a film camp. Braefoot is already lining up some exciting summer camps for 2017, including a potential future firefighters camp with the Saanich Fire Department.
“You have to keep trying things,” Danyluk said.
Visit www.braefoot.ca for more information.