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City to dole out grants to 40 community groups

A diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease can turn one's life upside down. Isolation and loneliness often follow, as the nature of dementia can make it difficult to stay in touch with friends and family.

Support groups organized by the Alzheimer Society of B.C. aim to give strength to those with the disease—and their caregivers. The society is one of 29 health, safety and social service groups expected to win grants from the city this year under an expanded program.

City staff are recommending $2,000 for the Alzheimer society—which had requested nearly three times that amount—to help cover rental expenses, while other organizations will get a larger piece of the $530,237 pie.

Richmond Addiction Services stands to collect the most: $194,487 to provide programs for gambling, substance abuse and addictive behaviours.

Also recommended: $47,000 to Chimo Crisis Services for crisis response and community engagement; $46,600 to Family Services of Greater Vancouver for counselling services; $36,500 to Volunteer Richmond Information Services for operating assistance; $34,000 to Canadian Mental Health Association's Richmond branch for operating assistance and a meal program; and $24,000 to Richmond Family Place Society for family support programs.

Staff are recommending another $94,227 for 11 groups providing recreation programs and community events. The Steveston Community Society is in line for the largest grant of $51,765—to support low-cost summer programs.

Last week, city council approved a 2012 operating budget that boosted grant funding by 35 per cent.

Council is expected to approve the grants at its Feb. 27 meeting.

Arts, culture and heritage groups are also eligible for grants from a new fund of $100,000. Recommended recipients, who had until Feb. 3 to apply, have yet to be announced.

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