The Amherst Heritage Trust took the top-ranking following presentations by three community groups seeking an inaugural ‘A’ Fresh Community Initiative grant, but all three organizations came out winners.
Presentations made by the Trust, Amherst Valentine Run Committee and the Sexual Health Centre for Cumberland County on Oct. 25 at the Community Credit Union Innovation Centre impressed the audience and members of town council.
Ballots cast by voters, who were all 16 years old or older and paid $2 to get a ballot, saw the trust receive the most points with 80, the Valentine run with 73 and the sexual health centre with 69.
Those rankings were then used, along with other criteria, by members of Amherst town council to determine the final standings, which saw no change in the rankings. Council then held a special session in order to award the grants.
“The ‘A’ Fresh Start Initiative was introduced by council in order to encourage organizations or individuals to develop new events in the Town of Amherst or enhance existing ones,” Amherst Mayor David Kogon said. “All of the presentations were great and all of them indicated clearly to us that this goal will be achieved.
“The public vote and our own viewing of the presentations convinced council that the Amherst Area Heritage Trust was the most impressive. As a result, we are granting them a $1,500 ‘A’ Fresh Community Initiative grant.”
The Amherst Heritage Trust will use the grant, in partnership with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Museum, to hold an Evening of Art and War, during which seven Arthur Lismer lithographs of the First World War will be put on display.
The lithographs are part of the North Nova Scotia Highland Museum collection of war memorabilia that is located in the Col. James Layton Ralston Armoury.
Lismer was a member of the famous Group of Seven landscape painters that was formed in 1920 and an Order of Canada recipient.
The event, scheduled for Nov. 16 at the armoury, will feature guest speakers from the art world who will make presentations on the historical significance of the lithographs.
The Trust hopes the event will bring attention to the efforts to save the historic armoury and the collection of artifacts held at in the museum that would be lost should the armoury close.
While council placed the Amherst Area Heritage Trust at the top of the rankings, they decided the other two were also worthwhile projects.
The Valentine Run Committee was ranked second by council. They will receive a $4,000 ‘A’ Fresh Community Initiative, the amount requested by the group. The Sexual Health Centre for Cumberland County was ranked third and awarded them a $3,000 ‘A’ Fresh Community Initiative grant, the amount asked for by the organization.
The Amherst Valentine Run Committee will use its grant to introduce a one-kilometre event aimed exclusively at students in the grades 4-6 range to the sixth annual Amherst Valentine Run, which is slated for Feb. 16.
The event currently holds four run/walks that include distances of three, five, 10 and 21.1 kilometres.
Organizers believe adding the one-kilometre run/walk will attract about 100 new runners/walkers to the Valentine Run while providing those in the grades 4-6 age bracket with the opportunity to learn about team building, proper stretching and nutrition as they train together.
The Sexual Health Centre for Cumberland County will use their grant to host a youth engagement forum that will facilitate broader awareness of sexual health among the area’s youth.
The forum will include a high-profile speaker who will talk on the theme of technology and sexual health. The centre believes the forum is needed because statistics it has collected show there continues to be poor sexual health outcomes among the area’s youth.
The centre said the forum will deliver practical information on sexual health to youth.
Council also decided to donate the $102 collected through the sales of the ballots to 258 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps, which is celebrating the 100th anniversary of sea cadets in Canada this year. The corps provides training in several areas, including leadership, physical fitness, and sailing, to youth between the ages of 12 and 18.