SPARC BC to Manage Community Accessibility Program

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The Social Planning and Research Council of BC (SPARC BC) will manage outreach and support for the accessibility-related projects and resources established under 2010 Legacies Now's Measuring Up program. 2010 Legacies Now is transferring Measuring Up to this trusted partner to ensure British Columbia communities continue to benefit from the work that was done under the program to support accessibility and inclusion as a legacy of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

"Measuring Up brings together government, business and community leaders who are passionate about improving the lives of people with disabilities," said Bruce Dewar, CEO of 2010 Legacies Now. "With SPARC BC's history of working for accessible and inclusive communities around B.C. we are confident they will run Measuring Up with the same commitment, vision and leadership."

Measuring Up was created in 2006 to foster community engagement and improve accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities, enabling them to participate in and contribute to their communities. The program was funded by the Province of British Columbia and includes a step-by-step guide to help communities evaluate community accessibility, along with other tools and resources to improve accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities.

"SPARC BC is excited to work with communities to build on the successes achieved under the program and identify new opportunities to work together to advance accessibility and inclusion in B.C." said Emese Szucs, Manager of Accessibility Programs. "Our goal is to work with the provincial government and other community partners to identify funding for community-level initiatives that will make British Columbia more inclusive and accessible to all."

In 2007 and 2008, the Province of B.C. contributed a total of $2.62 million to establish the Measuring Up Accessibility and Inclusion Fund, which has provided grants to communities to help implement the program. The Fund has supported a variety of projects, including new employment opportunities for people with disabilities, improved public transportation, and more accessible public spaces, such as outdoor trails and recreation centres. The Fund will now provide transition support to SPARC BC as they manage the Measuring Up program.

"Through Measuring Up, B.C. communities are a better place for people of all abilities to live, work and visit," said Rich Coleman, Minister of Housing and Social Development. "Our support to 2010 Legacies Now is enabling SPARC BC to continue enriching people's lives moving forward."

Measuring Up helped communities assess and improve how accessible and inclusive they are for people with disabilities, seniors and others with similar needs. The program included a funding component, established by the Province of British Columbia, which offered grants to communities to complete accessibility-related projects.