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Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa plans to shut down after-school program amid funding gaps

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The Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa says it plans to shut one of its after-school programs at the Cambridge Street Community Public School unless it is able to fill a substantial funding gap.

The organization, now known as BGC Ottawa, provides programming to children in vulnerable neighbourhoods.

"Any cut in service or anything of that sort has a very significant impact on families," said chief programs officer, Medin Admasu.

It comes on the heels of other closures and cutbacks as the organization struggles to keep up with inflation and increased demand post-pandemic.

"The gaps are incredible whether it be mental health, social-emotional learning, education or just physical activity, these young people need more and it costs more," said BGC Ottawa CEO Adam Joiner.

Currently the city provides roughly $300,000 to BGC Ottawa each year, but it’s an amount that hasn’t changed much in more than 20 years.

Even with one of its strongest years for donations, the non-profit is still $600,000 shy of what it needs to operate.

"This has implications to our community and it’s devastating," said Joiner. "It’s heartbreaking that there are going to be individuals who do not have access to our programs."

With the clock ticking, Joiner says up to 30 per cent of services and programs will be cut next year which will impact hundreds of kids across the city.

The non-profit has applied to the City of Ottawa for emergency funds, but without sustainable funding, Joiner says it’s just a Band-Aid solution.

"My hope is next year we can have conversations not on emergency funds but how we become a sustainable public sector partner for all of our organizations across the city," said Joiner.

BGC Ottawa says they is expect to hear back from the city regarding emergency funding on Dec. 20.

Members of the public can make donations to the organization on its website.

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