New grants promise free entertainment for Manitobans hunkering at home

The Manitoba government is trying to persuade people to stay in their homes by offering free entertainment.

Variety shows, cooking classes, fitness programs among those eligible for $3M safe at home Manitoba grants

The Manitoba government is hoping free programming will encourage people to stay at home. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The Manitoba government is trying to persuade people to stay in their homes by offering free entertainment.

The province is giving $3 million to organizations and businesses that create programs that support stay-at-home efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox and Municipal Relations Minister Rochelle Squires announced on Monday. 

Some examples funded through the safe at home Manitoba program include a pre-filmed variety show from the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and a gingerbread house-making exercise from Skills Manitoba.

The new grant program will be promoted through social media, using several messages, including: "We all have someone to stay home for."

The campaign is borne out of an acknowledgement that stay-at-home orders are tough on people's mental health and well-being, a government official said. 

Live-streaming shows eligible for cash

Other activities eligible for funding may include the live streaming of performing arts, cooking classes, at-home fitness programs and home-based art programs for children.

Festival du Voyageur will offer programming at home and Sport Manitoba will develop games and activities that encourage fundamental movement.

The funded programs must be free to participate in and must be delivered on an urgent basis.

The programs may be new or could be modifications to existing programs, such as removing fees so anyone can take part. The grant may also fund equipment, supplies or any other costs related to program delivery. 

United Way of Winnipeg, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, the Manitoba Arts Council, Sport Manitoba and the Winnipeg Foundation will help promote the program and dole out grants. A maximum of $50,000 will be available, though an organization can submit more than one project. 

The province will prioritize projects that encourage Manitobans to stay home and enjoy a high participation rate.

Municipalities, First Nations, local authorities, businesses, non-profits and charities, government agencies, post-secondary institutions and individual artists may all apply. 


Ian Froese

Provincial Affairs Reporter

Ian Froese covers provincial politics and its impact for CBC Manitoba. He previously reported on a bit of everything for newspapers. You can reach him at


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