$1.5M Investment Inspires More People to Get Moving in B.C.

BC Alliance for Healthy Living (BCAHL), in partnership with Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (I·SPARC) and the Ministry of Health, is excited to announce 39 communties across the province have been funded to lead local active living projects as the first recipients of the Active Communities Grant Program.

The generous $1.5 million investment from the province provides resources to Indigenous and local governments to create or expand accessible physical activity opportunities. This round of funding has two streams: one administered by BCAHL and one administered by the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (I·SPARC) for Indigenous-specific initiatives.

“We are pleased to provide these grants to the BC Alliance for Healthy Living to help increase peoples’ overall well-being, physical health and mental health”, said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Furthermore, these programs are designed by members of the community and that’s why they are particularly effective in  supporting people to stay active, healthy and resilient, while helping to make the community stronger and more vibrant.”  

“Everyone benefits from regular movement but some groups struggle more than others to make it happen, which is why BCAHL prioritized funding for projects that create opportunities for less active and equity-deserving residents,” said Rita Koutsodimos, Executive Director of BCAHL. “We also prioritized projects that would build capacity or be sustainable in the long-term, ensuring a lasting impact in each community.”

“We are excited to be providing this unique opportunity to Indigenous communities throughout the province. The Indigenous Active Communities Grants will offer First Nations, Métis Chartered Communities, and Friendship Centres with funding to support their continued commitment to building healthy, active communities,” said Rick Brant, I·SPARC CEO. “These grants will support community-driven initiatives designed to reduce barriers and increasing access to holistic, culturally relevant, and intergenerational approaches to active living.”

Many of the projects include traditional activities, addressing the need for a holistic approach to physical and mental wellness, such as the Kulspai-Kitselas Cultural and Wellness Trail, which will encourage community members to explore the traditional territory while promoting and preserving Indigenous knowledge and traditions.

Daylu Dena Council’s project combines sports, cultural dancing, drumming workshops, and traditional games tournaments to encourage as many community members as possible to participate and inspire them to move in ways that are meaningful to them.

Through their Inclusive Fitness project, the City of Surrey will be conducting an accessibility audit of their fitness centres, replace equipment that is not accessible and train recreation staff so they can support community members of all abilities and backgrounds on their physical activity journey.

Other projects focus on providing low-barrier access to physical activity opportunities, as well as training, like the Strathcona Regional District’s (SRD) Aquatic Fitness and lifeguard training project in northern Vancouver Island so communities within the SRD can increase their open swim session offerings.

“Activities in and around water are an important part of active healthy living for residents in the Strathcona Regional District and our residents are very aware of the risks and benefits,” said Sarah Madelung, Manager of Aquatics and Fitness at SRD. “This grant funding allows us to support that initiative to even the most remote communities in the SRD.”

BCAHL is grateful for the opportunity to work with the following communities to support them as they provide their communities with the resources to make physical activity possible for more people.

For a complete list of the funded projects, visit BCAHL’s website. For more funding opportunities from I·SPARC, visit the Food Systems Grant Program and the RISE Grants for Individuals.

  • BCAHL is a coalition of health leaders and together as the Alliance, we advocate for and promote policies that support healthy living to prevent chronic disease in BC.
  • I·SPARC is a provincial organization established to improve the health outcomes of Indigenous peoples through supporting physical activity in communities.
  • Physical activity is a protective factor against coronary artery disease, stroke,  hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, as well as several types of cancers including colon cancer and breast cancer.
  • Evidence shows that even low levels of physical activity can enhance mental health, relieve stress, and improve mood in adults with depression.



Rita Koutsodimos
Executive Director, BCAHL

Twila Amato
Manager of Communications and Projects, BCAHL

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