By Bob Bruton, Barrie Examiner
Accessing Barrie’s recreation programs has been eased by a new initiative.
RecACCESS provides support to low-income city families and individuals by giving them credits that can be applied to registration fees for programs and activities.
“This is such a simple idea that has so many benefits for so many people,” Mayor Jeff Lehman said Thursday morning at Holly Community Centre.
Participants must complete an application form and provide documents related to their financial and family situation. Those approved will have a special credit added to their RecACCESS account with the city’s recreation registration system.
Lehman mentioned that his four-year-old daughter is participating in three Barrie recreation programs, but none are full.
“There are always a few extra spaces in programs,” the mayor said. “We can fill them at no extra cost. We are running the programs anyway.”
Deirdra Dobson is a single mom and full-time student at Georgian College. Her son Bentley, who’s one and a half years old, is able to take advantage of RecACCESS for swimming lessons.
“It definitely helps us out,” said Dobson.
Lehman credits city staff for coming up with the idea – ironically while working on a plan to have fees cover a greater percentage of the cost of recreation programs.
RecACCESS will increase participation, which in the long run should help recreation program revenues.
Lehman said the city doesn’t know how many people will take advantage of RecACCESS.
“But we know they are out there,” he said. “There’s a significant part of the population who are trying to make ends meet and might not have enough money to put their kids in a recreation program.”
For full details on the application process, the list of eligible programs and to download the application program, visit barrie.ca.
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