The Bear Clan Patrol reached out to Winnipeggers Thursday to ask for donations to help keep their program running, but the provincial government has stepped in with a large amount of funding.
Bear Clan spokesperson Rachel Hollis said the group didn’t have core funding confirmed for next year, which left them unsure about their ability to continue to operate. The province announced Thursday afternoon that almost $200,000 would be invested in the Bear Clan’s community crime prevention efforts.
“We understand how important the Bear Clan Patrol is to our community,” said justice minister Cliff Cullen.
“By promoting safety, offering support and providing assistance, the group helps reduce crime and keep our streets safe.”
More than $126,000 in funding will come from Manitoba Justice through the Proceeds of Crime Fund, and will be used toward infrastructure and safety improvements.
The funding will also help the Winnipeg Police Service partner with the group and share information that will result in increased awareness of community situations.
“The Bear Clan is credited with increasing the safety and well-being of people in the community through their visible presence, provision of basic food and shelter necessities, and positive contacts and referrals of individuals,” said Winnipeg police chief Danny Smyth.
An additional $70,000 will come from the Municipal Relations Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, in support of a system to collect and distribute food donations to vulnerable people.
The funding will also help with the establishment of a dedicated base for Bear Clan operations.
Prior to the province’s announcement, a Go Fund Me Page was created to help with the 375-person volunteer group. They had raised over $4,000 in just over a week, with a goal of raising a total of $25,000.
“Funding is essential at this stage in the game,” said Bear Clan executive director James Favel.
“We have 1,400 Winnipeg-based volunteers and this money from the Proceeds of Crime Fund will provide us with the much-needed tools we need to do what we do.”
According to their website, The Bear Clan says their group “is a community based solution to crime prevention, providing a sense of safety, solidarity and belonging to both its members and to the communities they serve.”
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