Sperling, Manitoba – In small communities like Sperling, public spaces act as important hubs for bringing residents together through events and recreational activities, so it’s crucial to maintain these spaces to keep them operational.
In 2021, the Sperling Community Centre District (SCCD) surveyed Sperling residents on what potential capital projects they would like to see undertaken. The survey showed that resurfacing the basketball court in the community’s park was a high priority for the majority of respondents.
Thanks to local farmer Jason Dunn, SCCD was awarded a $2,500 Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities (CFGC) grant to cover some of the contractor work on the basketball court, which involved excavating, landscaping, and pouring new concrete. Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities is a program offered by Bayer Crop Science to strengthen rural communities by offering local non-profit organizations funding to do much-needed work in their communities.
Jason, who runs a mixed grain farm and whose wife grew up in Sperling, nominated the SCCD for the CFGC grant because he believes the facilities the non-profit operates are important to the community.
“The grant is a very nice way to engage with local farm communities and give back to them,” he says. “Overall, it was an excellent experience. It only takes a few minutes to apply and it’s a simple way to receive money for your favourite local non-profit organization.”
Erin Dunn, treasurer at the SCCD, says the non-profit organization was excited to receive the CFGC grant and that, as treasurer, she appreciates it helped with balancing the non-profit’s finances.
“We were very grateful to have had the opportunity to be nominated,” she says. “Sperling is an extremely small community, so every little bit helps. Any new amenity at a local facility like the park has the potential to bring all kinds of people together.”
Erin notes that there has been a lot of positive feedback from the community about the project and the CFGC grant, and she has often seen families out using the new court and has even taken her own young children to enjoy playing there.
According to Erin, it’s important that farmers know the CFGC grant exists and that they take the time to nominate a local non-profit that could greatly benefit from the funds.
“Rural communities more often than not have a connection with a local farmer or two, so to encourage applications is a great way to build a community,” she says. “You’ll never be successful if you don’t try. It’s definitely one of the easier grant processes to undertake and the $2,500 goes a long way for some of these projects.”