The Midland Legion is receiving an important helping hand.
Thanks to an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 80 will receive $146,000. Funding's designed to help keep members and guests safe, enhance online programs and services and help the branch recover from COVID-19.
Dan Travers, who serves as branch Sgt-at-Arms and public relations officer, said the grant is “once-in-a-decade opportunity” for the Midland Legion.
“As you know we were under threat of closure due to debts in 2016-2017 and have worked hard over the last five years to make the branch more financially stable, as well as a more inclusive and accessible community space,” Travers said.
“This grant allows us to make it a much safer space as well, develop more online programming and services, and generate new sources of revenue to make us more sustainable as well.”
The grant falls under the foundation’s Resilient Communities stream, which according to the agency “supports the non-profit sector recover and rebuild from the impacts emerging from COVID-19 so they can effectively meet the needs of communities across Ontario.”
The funding will be used to improve air quality, create safer indoor spaces and renovate existing amenities. A portion of the funds have also been allocated for generating new revenue streams, as well as online delivery of the Legion’s programs and services and making them available for Veterans and seniors.
The grant comes at a very opportune time, according to branch president Ron Adair.
“We look forward to the day that we can welcome our entire community back to the branch, the community that has continued to support Branch 80,” Adair said.
“ Until that day, be assured that we shall continue to work diligently on behalf of the community, our members, veterans and seniors and youth, to make your branch a safe, inclusive and welcoming location.”
Travers said members and guests will see a lot of changes at the branch.
“We are very excited about this grant opportunity and the ways we can use the funding to do even more in the community,” he said, adding the earlier financial troubles are now behind the branch thanks to the continuing support of members, volunteers and the Midland community.
“We are perhaps in better financial shape than many other Legion branches in Ontario - some of which may not emerge from the COVID--19 pandemic.
“Although the lockdowns have significantly affected our ability to generate revenue, our previous fundraising and firm financial footing before the lockdowns began, combined with provincial and federal grant support, means that - at least for the moment - we seem to be weathering the storm."