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‘I am very concerned’: Future of Saskatchewan in Motion in doubt after funding pulled

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan in Motion facing uncertainty after funding fplled by provincial government' Saskatchewan in Motion facing uncertainty after funding fplled by provincial government
WATCH: Saskatchewan in Motion is a local organization that had one goal — to help get kids moving and stay active. Volunteers say all funding from the provincial government has been pulled and the website is set to disappear at the end of March. – Mar 20, 2022

Founded in 2003, the not-for-profit organization Saskatchewan in Motion features a group of volunteers and coaches joining forces to promote and increase physical activity within the community for kids.

With all funding being pulled, the organization may very well cease to exist moving forward unless funding is secured.

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Sask in Motion volunteer Louise Humbert says the government pulled all funding in November 2021.

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“Here’s an organization that woke up every day to get communities, to get kids, moving. There is no more funding. It has just disappeared,” Humbert said.

In a statement to Global News, the Ministry of Parks, Culture, and Sport said the government is committed to the health and well-being of its citizens by increasing awareness of the sport and physical activity in Saskatchewan.

“In last year’s budget, the government committed $4 million to the active families benefit, helping families with the cost of activities for children and $1.7 million to the community rink affordability grant, a program delivered through the Saskatchewan parks and recreation association that supports rinks and winter physical activity,” the statement said.

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Sask in Motion operated under the Active Saskatchewan umbrella, which is funded by a number of outside entities whose funding support expired in 2021. The government added that due to the lack of money being taken in by the province from the Saskatchewan Lottery and Game proceeds, the government decided to pull funding.

Humbert responded to the statement from the ministry by asking how the government will demonstrate that it’s committed to increasing awareness?

Humbert said the majority of that funding came from the Community Initiatives Fund, which is funded by casino revenue. She said the Blue Cross supported some great work in the community.

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Humbert said the funding the organization received was not an exorbitant amount to achieve what was needed. In fact, in 2019-20 the program got $650,000 and in 2020-21, it received $550,000.

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Humbert said it wouldn’t hurt to recognize the work all the teachers and volunteers put into this organization,

“If we don’t get funding to show that we support it — if we don’t show support for teachers, coaches — I am very concerned moving forward,” Humbert said.

It would be a most unfortunate end to nearly two decades of hard work and dedication.

“We are the only province without a physical strategy for its people,” Humbert said.

“To my knowledge, all provinces in Canada have a physical activity strategy, or physical activity is identified within a provincial health promotion strategy. These concerns were brought to the attention of the (Ministry of Parks, Culture, and Sport) but unfortunately not answered,” Humbert added.

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Humbert said all staff was let go in March 2021, as was the executive director in June of that year.

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Humbert said the website is set to disappear within the coming weeks, as the agreement with the designer of the website is set to expire.

Humbert added she has sent letters to each MLA and the Minister of Parks, Culture, and Sport. Humbert says her MLA, Matt love, was going to follow up but COVID-19 variants hit and his attention was drawn elsewhere. Humbert adds the letter included how the benefits greatly outweigh the negatives for keeping Sask in Motion in operation.

“I particularly noted the conclusion statement in the abstract of the paper published in June 2021, income disparities exist in the awareness, uptake, and potential impact of the CFTC. Tax credits are not effective in promoting overall physical activity.”

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