A community organization that works to keep Winnipeg neighbourhoods safe is getting a boost from the government.

Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced on Tuesday evening that the province will be providing $200,000 to the Bear Clan Patrols. $100,000 of that funding will come in annual support he says.

“The Bear Clan patrols have a strong reputation for being able to offer on-the-ground support, promote safety and deter crime,” says Goertzen. “It is important that we have both helping hands and watching eyes when it comes to preventing criminal activities. North America is seeing increases in crime and we will continue to take steps to address this challenge for the safety of Manitobans.”

The annual funding of $100,000 will be provided yearly to support long-term program sustainability and stability and to ensure resources are in place to continue street-level work in communities, the minister said. The programs and priorities will be established by the Bear Clan patrols in each community at the grassroots level.

“We are so happy to receive this funding,” says Kevin Walker, executive director, Bear Clan Patrol Inc. “It will allow us to continue to provide services like first aid to our community members while keeping our volunteer patrol members safe. This funding provides us with essential equipment, which we require to continue to operate in a safe and professional way.”

The province says in a release that in addition, the Bear Clan patrols, who operate community safety patrols in five Winnipeg neighbourhoods, are receiving over $100,000 from the Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund to purchase safety equipment and other supplies for its volunteers including high-visibility vests, puncture-resistant gloves, flashlights and multi-tool pocket knives. The funding will also be used to purchase first aid kits, automated external defibrillators, naloxone and supplies that will support search activities.