A $300,000 cut in provincial funding each month prompted the Boys and Girls Clubs of Edmonton on Friday to lay off nearly half its staff.

"It's always disheartening, and depressing and shocking when you have to make these types of hard decisions that affect and impact the lives of people," said Sheldon Oleksyn, director of fund development, marketing and communication. 

"Times are not great in the province to begin with and then when you have to send people back into the marketplace looking for work during depressed times, it's not an easy thing to do."

'What we are really upset about, I guess, is just the lack of time that we've had to react to this.'—Sheldon Oleksyn, Boys and Girls Club

One hundred and one people will be laid off. More than 20 are full-time. Layoff notices were handed out Friday morning.

For the past nine years, the province contracted the Boys and Girls' Clubs to provide crisis intervention services for children in violent and dangerous situations. Funding is given based on the number of hours of service the province needs the organization to provide.

A reduction in those hours has translated into about a $300,000 cut in funding per month.

The organization learned about the cut a week and a half ago, and it came as a shock, Oleksyn said.

"What we are really upset about, I guess, is just the lack of time that we've had to react to this," he said. 

"It would have been really helpful for us to, if not be directly included in the decision-making, then at least be given some lead time so that we don't have to be so hard on the people who have served faithfully the children and youth of this city for so many years."

The funding cut takes effect immediately and could affect other services the organization provides.

Boys and Girls Clubs of Edmonton operates 9 clubs that helped 4,300 children in 2008.