Emergency grant saves Surrey needle collection program
Rig Dig Program volunteers picked up more than 21K syringes between April and September
A $10,000 lifeline is being thrown to a program that was responsible for picking up more than 21,000 needles in north Surrey between April and September.
Rig Dig Program volunteers, who are mostly drug users or former users, also collected more than 2,200 bags of trash over the same period.
The Lookout Society, which operates the program, was forced to shut down Rig Dig when funding dried up last month.
"We hear a lot of positive feedback from the community which sees the need for this service, as well as benefits for former and active drug users who use their expertise to identify problematic areas to target for safe disposal and cleanup in Surrey," said society executive director Shayne Williams.
Williams says they're now able to start up again on a limited basis thanks to an emergency grant from the Lookout Foundation.
"The Lookout Foundation does not normally fund ongoing operational expenses," said Chuck Puchmayr, board president for the Lookout Foundation.
"However, we've identified Rig Dig as an essential service in Surrey north. The emergency fund supports continuing the service while we attempt to secure ongoing funding."
Williams says he is still looking to secure long-term funding for the program.
Earlier this month, the Fraser Health Authority announced a partnership with the RainCity Housing and Support Society to roll out a harm-reduction strategy for the region.
Needle collection is a key component of the strategy.