The P.E.I. 55+ Games Society is the recipient of one of several new financial grants being offered by the Rotary Club of Charlottetown.
The grant, which totals $6,500 will be used by the society for two new projects: a pilot travel program to help more people attend the Games and promotion in the form of a new video/commercial to make more Islanders aware of the Games and what they offer.
Dhuey Pratt, P.E.I. 55+ Games Society president, says this type of funding makes a significant difference to the organization and the money will be put to work right away in fulfilling two long-time objectives.
The results from surveys conducted at each of the Games have shown there are many seniors who participate year after year, he noted, but the introduction of new participants was low. In addition, many seniors shy away from competition, not realizing the friendly nature of these events.
“We always felt that we were missing many individuals who would like to participate in the games, but they didn’t know a lot about the games or had misconceptions about what the games were about,” said Pratt.
“We want to increase our participation, so we have decided to produce a promotional video explaining what the games are about and show people how much fun they can have.”
The survey also showed the transportation limitations of some participants.
“This is why we are piloting a transportation service for the winter games and allowing individuals who can’t drive or do not wish to drive an opportunity to participate.”
Money for the eight grants is coming from a province wide Radio Rotary Bingo that is operated by the club. Approximately 35 not-for-profit groups across P.E.I. who provide services to youth or seniors were invited to apply for the first series of grants. Of those, 19 submitted applications.
“Rotary has four avenues of service that it provides, and one of them is community service,” says Marilyn Lowther, a member of the Charlottetown Rotary Club. “And sharing the money raised from the bingo is a very good way to accomplish that.
“Also, one of the criteria (for the grants) is that preference is given to provincial programs, which offer services throughout the province. People are participating in the Bingo from across the Island, and we want to make sure the money gets back out to all areas of P.E.I.”