Religious organizations can apply for a grant of up to $50,000 to deliver mental health and physical wellness programs as of Monday afternoon.

A new $3 million grant program aimed at giving Manitobans motivation to stay home is launching as of Monday afternoon. This grant will help organizations and individuals fund activities or purchase supplies that Manitobans can take part in at home, such as online concerts.

Churches and other religious organizations are allowed to use the grant. Churches may not use the grant to hold a religious service. The province wants the program to reach the greatest number and diversity of Manitobans or focus the project on a targeted group of underserved Manitobans.

For example, a church may use the grants to host a fitness or cooking class, but can not use it to hold a Bible study. Christian musicians are able to apply for the grant to hold a concert, such as a Christmas concert. 

The grant program hopes to give Manitobans activities to look forward to doing at home, for free. Those using the grant cannot charge the participants for the activities.

The Province says in the spring, it was easier for Manitobans to stay home as they saw others in popular culture staying home and hosting things from their homes. They hope the new grant program will encourage Manitobans to have fun in their own households.

Applications for the grant begin this Monday.

It is hoped that the activities created are sustainable and will continue past the grant programming. The new programming will need to be ongoing programs that began on or after November 1. 

Applications will be reviewed by Manitoba’s Grant Program Partner(s) that include Manitoba Arts Council, Sport Manitoba, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, The Winnipeg Foundation and the United Way Winnipeg.

Manitobans are eligible to apply for the grant until March 31, 2020, the end of the province's fiscal year. 

One person or organization can apply for more than one grant, but priority will be given to new applicants. 

Larger organizations, such as The Royal Manitoba Theatre Company and Sport Manitoba already have large events planned. The province says it does not matter how large the organization or event will be as long as it fits the criteria to be eligible and is approved by the province. 

The Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, encourages Manitobas to stay home as much as possible. Current Public Health Orders do not permit people to socialize in other households. Worship services cannot be held in person, including drive-in services. Roussin says changes could be coming to worship service regulations early this week.