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Literacy Now funding slashed again

Literacy Now Cowichan president Barb De Groot says the organization is devastated by a funding cut. -
Literacy Now Cowichan president Barb De Groot says the organization is devastated by a funding cut.
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Literacy Now Cowichan has lost almost a quarter of its total funding, thanks to a recent announcement on provincial literacy funding.

The announcement arrived from B.C.'s central literacy organization.

"Earlier this year, Decoda Literacy Solutions, the organization tasked by the provincial government to deliver funds for literacy in communities across B.C., announced there would be less than half of literacy funding for 55 communities, including Cowichan," states a Literacy Now Cowichan press release.

"We were absolutely devastated by this cut," said LNC president Barb De Groot. “And (we're) not sure how we are going to continue with our strong partnerships given the cut."

Money provided by the government is used in the community for building partnerships with other agencies and promoting a free literacy upgrading program provided at the LNC resource centre.

As part of this program, volunteer tutors work one-on-one with adult learners, helping them with basic literacy, including reading, writing, math as well as computers, cell phones and tablets.

Decoda stated in a letter to LNC its funding through the Ministry of Education had been cut by $1.5 million and it had no choice but to pass on cuts to community literacy programs.

In Cowichan, that means more than $17,000 was sliced from its budget of just under $75,000.

LNC faced a similar cut last year and funding was restored at the last minute.

Nanaimo North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley said he understood what funding cut means to people needing help to improve their basic literacy skills.

"We're talking about a program that's essential to people, and it's cruel to deny them the opportunity to upgrade basis literacy skills," Routley said at that time. "The amount of money at stake here is, in the context of recent government priorities, very small. (The funding for Decoda) should be reinstated immediately."

Meanwhile, LNC is fundraising in the community to help people upgrade their literacy.

On July 5 it will host a fundraising golf tournament at Cowichan Golf Club and it is also applying for other grants to make up the shortfall.

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