Not enough funding in place to continue program
TRURO - Friday will be the last day for the Cyber Internet Safety Society.
Barry Mingo, the society's executive director, said the decision was made about two weeks ago at a board meeting.
"We looked at our budget and we just aren't hitting that zero balance," he said of the organization that has been in existence for about a year and was trying to find funding to support rolling out the Cyber program to schools throughout the province.
Mingo said the society needs about $200,000 a year to operate. The Town of Truro contributed about a third of the total cost, while another $20,000 to $25,000 came from in-kind and monetary donations.
"It was that last big chunk that we were never able to secure. The town was great - if it hadn't been for them, we wouldn't have gotten this far."
The Cyber anti-bullying program has been presented before a number of students through the Truro Police Service since 2009, and the society was created to try to extend Cyber's reach.
"It's unfortunate we won't be able to continue to roll out Cyber's message to students throughout the province. We visited about 45 schools from Cape Breton to Digby since October and we started getting requests in early September," said Mingo, adding those requests had to be stalled because the society knew it could no longer operate.
The society was hoping to have major sponsors come on board to support the program, and Mingo said that support didn't come - from sponsors or from the provincial government.
"Without the support from the provincial government, that was the nail in the coffin, so to speak," he added.
Truro Police Service Chief David MacNeil said it would have been nice to see a major sponsor come on board.
"Cyberbullying is huge in society and it's getting bigger - it's a real situation and it's a dangerous situation," he said, adding nothing has changed for the service as far as Cyber is concerned. "We're still making arrangements to go into local schools.
"Cyber has always been our mascot. I would have been more excited if the society had found some long-term funding."