The feds have cut funding for Easter Seals summer jobs in half, leaving the nonprofit’s CEO to search for answers

A cut in federal funding has caused Easter Seals Newfoundland and Labrador to divert funds from other locations to help maintain its summer programming, including its accessible park and playground. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

A 55% cut in federal funding has left the CEO of Easter Seals Newfoundland and Labrador searching for answers and digging into the organization’s pockets to maintain its summer lineup this year.

Mark Bradbury told CBC News on Monday the cut resulted in more than $25,000 in lost funding, which would have been used to hire post-secondary students to serve as counselors for Easter Seals summer camps. .

The camps provide summer activities and a social experience for 25 to 30 people with disabilities, most of whom cannot access a traditional summer camp, Bradbury said.

“They’re so popular that when we opened registration, every slot was filled within two hours,” Bradbury said. “It’s really the only opportunity for young children to attend summer camp.…It’s a very important part of the community here.”

The change in funding means the number of counselors could have been cut in half, which would have limited the number of children the programs could accept.

Bradbury said the organization was able to make up for lost funds for this year, but it came at a cost: diverting donated funds to support other causes, including the accessible park they hope to build at the coming.

“It hurts,” he said.

“We don’t understand and we don’t want a precedent. Because we may not have the money next year to be able to offset that 55% reduction.”

Mark Bradbury sits at a picnic table, fingers crossed.
Easter Seals NL CEO Mark Bradbury has his fingers crossed that the Federal Government reverses its decision to cut funding to Easter Seals. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Bradbury said he and the rest of Easter Seals NL are seeking answers about the reasons for the funding cut, as the decision was made by email from the federal government with little explanation three weeks ago.

It is not the first time funding has been cut in this way during his tenure as CEO, he said, citing a case where funding was cut but restored the following year after the MP from the region visited its facilities and, according to Bradbury, saw the importance of funding.

In a statement to CBC News, a spokesperson for the federal Department of Employment and Social Development said the department could not comment on individual cases, but requests often exceeded the amount of funding available.

“Due to oversubscription, not all eligible projects are funded, and organizations that receive funding may not receive the level of funding requested, the amount of funding received in previous years, or the number of weeks requested,” the report said. communicated.

“It really doesn’t make sense to us,” Bradbury said. “It’s really, really important to the community and it hits really hard on the need for disability camps here. It just doesn’t make sense.”

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