Volunteers who collected 25,000 needles in Surrey last year say the program is about to shut down due to funding cuts.
Shayne Williams is the executive director of the Lookout Emergency Society.
He says the ‘Rig Dig’ program provides a vital service to Surrey residents.
“There is a massive community need. We have businesses that are very supportive and I think the local BIA is very supportive of the program. We could probably provide a lot more hours into the community and collect many more needles rather than having to close the program all together.”
Williams says the program will come to an end in mid-September if it can’t secure more funding.
“What we are worried of, and I think even the participants themselves, folks that are picking up the needles, they are quite often distraught about the state of the community – and certainly nobody wants to see needles in parks or on the streets. I guess the big worry is having an influx of these kinds of materials on the streets in Surrey.”
Williams says its Provincial Gaming Grant won’t be renewed, and the Fraser Health Authority has cut funding.
They’re hoping another funding provider will step up to the plate to save the program.