Communities at Play: Announcing the 2024 Recipients

Sandbox’s Communities at Play program provides deserving communities throughout the prairies with $25,000 each toward their playground project. The initiative began last year in 2023, where we awarded four communities with funds to upgrade their playgrounds.

We opened up applications for Communities at Play for the second time in March 2024 and received many fantastic entries. We are excited to announce that this year, there will be not four, but FIVE winners of $25,000 from Sandbox towards their playground project!

The recipients are:

Buena Vista School - Saskatoon (SK)

  • Buena Vista is a nature-based public elementary school with a focus on outdoor learning. The existing play structure at Buena Vista school is 27 years old. Additionally, it does not meet accessibility standards, has had many parts removed due to safety concerns, and will be decommissioned within three years. The proposed replacement will utilize natural building materials, be the first in this neighborhood to be fully accessible, and will be available to the community year round to ensure equal opportunity for physical activity amongst youth.

Kinsmen McKay Park - Tisdale (SK)

  • The small rural community of Tisdale values connection and outdoor recreation, relying heavily on a central public park called the Kinsmen McKay Park. Unfortunately, after extensive use, the well-loved public playground in the park is in poor condition and is almost entirely exclusive of children with accessibility needs or disabilities. This project aims to replace the existing structure with an accessible, modernized, dynamic recreational facility that caters to all play needs in a safe and inclusive manner. It is anticipated that these upgrades will help preserve Tisdale as a connected and vibrant community.

Touchwood Park - Neepawa (MB)

  • Touchwood Park is a nonprofit organization that was established in 1963 to provide services to individuals with intellectual disabilities. Currently, Touchwood Park provides services to 48 vulnerable Manitobans. The Touchwood Park Accessible playground project is renovating an existing playground space owned by Touchwood Park to become fully accessible to the entire community, regardless of ability, age, gender, or race. This accessible space will include features to remove physical barriers, as well as visual communications in English and Tagalog in hopes to remove communication barriers between peer groups.

Elizabeth Métis Settlement - Cold Lake (AB)

  • Elizabeth Métis Settlement is one of eight Métis Settlements in Alberta, a type of administrative district unique in Canada and representative of Métis people’s unique culture, needs, and history. Recreation opportunities in the Settlement are scarce compared to larger centres, putting children and youth at a disadvantage for physical and mental health outcomes. The new playground equipment will prominently feature the colour orange, a choice that represents a powerful act of remembrance for the children who endured the residential school system. The infrastructure will be built at an important location for the Settlement—the Remember the Children Memorial at Soars Lake— supporting the ongoing process of healing and reconciliation.

Kensington School – Edmonton (AB)

  • Kensington School is a central Edmonton school that serves over 400 children from Kindergarten to Grade 9. It has been in existence for 64 years and has NEVER had a playground for the children who attend it. Kensington school provides quality education to students from low to lower-income families. The school represents a wide range of cultural, linguistic, and religious backgrounds, and supports children with various types of disabilities. The Kensington Parent Association plans to build not only the school’s first playground ever, but also an inclusive playground that will create a safe space where all children with diverse abilities can play without barriers.

A big congratulations to this years winners!

Child on playground swing

Our brokers are a big part of making this program a success. A new addition to Communities at Play this year is our Ready, Set, Refer! program, where we are giving an additional $1,000 to a project that was referred by one of our broker partners. The winner is Glenboro, MB, referred by Guild Insurance Group! $1000 will be donated to the Glenboro playground project in Guild Insurance Group’s name.

It’s very important to us to give back to the communities we do business in. Organizations recognize the need to build or upgrade their playgrounds to be inclusive of children of all abilities and ensure the structures are safe for years to come. Sandbox is thrilled to provide the funding to make these safe and inclusive playgrounds a reality.

 - Shelley Willick, President and CEO of Sandbox Mutual Insurance

We are so excited for these communities and can’t wait to see their projects come to life later this year! Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn for further updates as these projects are completed.