Our Community: Five-a-side mini soccer pitch for Tribal School; gingerbread callout

Youth living on the Tsartlip, Pauquachin, Tseycum and Tsawout reserves, as well as surrounding communities, will soon be able to play five-a-side mini-pitch soccer year-round, thanks to a donation by the Pacific Football Club and Canadian Premier League.

The club, in partnership with the Canadian Premier League’s #WeAreOneCommunity initiative, is donating a five-a-side soccer pitch to the WSÁNEĆ School Board, to be installed on an old lacrosse field at the ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱ Tribal School, on the reserve near Brentwood Bay, with a completion date of early fall.

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“Soccer has played an important role in our communities and this will enhance future opportunities for our youth,” said Curtis Olsen, administrator with the WSÁNEĆ School Board, who noted that wet field conditions have limited play time in the past. “This will allow us to play year-round.”

In five-a-side football or soccer, teams of five players play in a smaller, specially designed pitch.

The Musco modular mini-pitch system typically includes artificial turf, lighting, fencing, goals, benches, wheelchair access and lockable storage. “The WSÁNEĆ School Board and the WSÁNEĆ communities are excited about the donation of the five-a-side soccer pitch and the opportunities that it will open up for our youth,” said Olsen.

As part of the build, the Canadian Premier League and Pacific FC will offer a range of soccer activities and outreach programming to members of the community.

This may be the first mini-pitch, but it won’t be the last as the league looks to grow the game of soccer in Canada.

“We hope this is the first of many pitches we will launch, increasing a lasting opportunity for sport and community for the next generation of Canadian soccer talent,” said David Clanachan, the league’s commissioner.

Founded in 2018, the Pacific Football Club plays out of the 6,000-seat Westhills Stadium in Langford.

• For more information, go to pacificfc.ca.

Métis Nation B.C. aims to help low-income elders fill health needs

Métis Nation British Columbia is launching a pilot program aimed at helping low-income elders buy health-related necessities. Up to $2,500 will be available for individuals and up to $4,000 for couples to purchase hearing aids, dentures, walkers, glasses and more.

“We have always respected and cherished our elders as our knowledge keepers, our link to our ancestors, our past and our future. Yet many have been unable to eat properly without proper teeth, have not been able to hear their grandchildren with no hearing aid, have not been able to read messages from family due to no glasses, had to choose between healthy food and prescriptions,” said Betty An McDonnell, president of the Nicola Valley and District Métis Association.

“This has weighed heavily on the shoulders of MNBC and the leaders of all B.C. communities. As a president that has advocated that we remedy this situation, I am elated beyond words to know that there will be a small beginning to help many. I hold my hands up in gratitude today.”

Elders who access Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement will be eligible for funding, and the program will run until the funds are exhausted.

“Our communities have told us loud and clear that we need more supports available for our elders and seniors,” said Raynie Gervais, MNBC minister of elders. “Being able to provide funding for important life necessities will help us create more stable and healthy communities.”

• More information, and to apply, go to the MNBC website.

Talents of all types sought for 13th Gingerbread Showcase

Habitat for Humanity Victoria is inviting home chefs, professional bakers, artists, designers and architects to sign up for this year’s Gingerbread Showcase.

Participants can show off their skills and imagination in creating a gingerbread house for the fundraising event.

This is the 13th year of the event, the premier fundraiser for the non-profit organization. Proceeds went toward the construction of nine new affordable homes last year. The theme for this year’s ­Gingerbread Showcase is The Future of Home. The rules for entries are simple: Everything used in the creation must be edible, each entry must be created on a 61-centimetre-square base and each entry must be at least 45 centimetres tall.

Creations will be displayed online and for in-person viewing from Nov. 20 through to Jan. 2, 2022, at the Parkside Hotel and Spa.

• For more information and to register, go to habitatvictoria.com.

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