FREDERICTON (CNB) – The Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport is providing funding to help associations and individuals provide good quality after school programs throughout the province.

In partnership with Healthy Eating Physical Activity Coalition of New Brunswick, up to 16 grants of $1,000 each will be given to groups, clubs, non-profit programs, daycares or other childcare providers, to build after school programs for children and youth.

The after school time period, from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m., is the time when most youth-related crimes occur. It is also when many children are engaged in sedentary behaviour such as playing hand-held games, computer games or watching television.

"The aim of these small grants is to engage children and youth in good quality activities that encourage healthy eating and physical activity,” said Wellness, Culture and Sport Minister Trevor Holder. “We intend that they will also help in the development of study and homework skills, and instill a sense of community awareness and pride."

The department, along with stakeholders and partners, have developed the guidelines and criteria to receive funding. The grants will be awarded and administered in conjunction with the coalition.

"There is great demand for good quality after school programming and in many cases, the recipients of these grants will be associations that offer these programs free of charge," said Holder. "We hope to make community-based programs more accessible to children and youth. This is an important first step to making positive changes that can have lasting effects on children."

"The Healthy Eating Physical Activity Coalition of New Brunswick is very honoured to have the opportunity to partner with Wellness Culture and Sport on the After School Hours initiative," said coalition manager Julie Atkinson. "With this partnership, we will be able to seek out effective programs that will, in turn, enhance the development of new opportunities throughout the province for children and youth."

For information on the program, contact the department at 506-453-4217.