The Quesnel Pride Society has received a 2020 Peer Support and Mental Health and Well-Being Services grant for $8,500 from Trans Care BC.
Formed in 2015, Trans Care BC is a provincial program that works to coordinate and enhance trans health services and supports across the province.
The Peer Support and Mental Health and Well-Being Services grant provides funds for communities to create or build upon various support services and projects.
“Funding provides capacity-building support for communities to develop, or build upon, peer support and mental health and well-being services where they do not exist or are minimal, for trans, gender diverse, and Two-Spirit community members, including their parents/caregivers and families,” states a release from Trans Care BC.
President of the Quesnel Pride Society Kassondra Schwab says that while the grant funding was originally intended to go towards a CampOUT, which is a leadership and learning summer camp for LGBTQIA2+ youth, this summer, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that event has had to be cancelled.
“A big portion of what we were applying for was a campOUT and it’s something that happens yearly in the Vancouver area and then last year the Williams Lake Pride did the first one in the Cariboo but of course with COVID-19 things changed so most of what the grant will be used for now will be to continue paying the lease for our space and being able to pay honorariums to professionals in the field and have them come into our space whether that’s for educational activities or fun artsy stuff,” said Schwab.
Schwab also announced that the annual Quesnel Pride Parade had been cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and that efforts are being made to provide an online parade. Schwab says that funds from the grant will be put towards hosting an event for the community in late summer or fall depending on guidelines from the provincial health officer.
“Because of COVID-19 we are going to be cancelling the Pride Parade this year unfortunately,” said Schwab. “So we are going to try and be a little bit creative with the online platform and then potentially do something a little bit later in the summer or fall depending on whats going on in the world. So some of the money from this grant will go towards an event in lieu of the pride parade.”
The Quesnel Pride Society will soon be announcing the recipient of a $500 bursary for graduating students. The society reached out to the community and asked all graduating students interested in applying for the bursary to write an essay about what it means to them to have a pride society in Quesnel.
Schwab says she was delighted by the entries the society received and that a winner will be announced soon.
“I think we had 15 essays and 14 of them were very positive,” said Schwab. “They were writing things like ‘this is very important, nobody should feel like they need to be hiding in the shadows’ and ‘having a space to just be yourself is fantastic’, we had such great feedback in those essays.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the Quesnel Pride Society can do so by visiting their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/QuesnelPride.