Despite numerous private sector efforts and the charitable donations by countless businesses, organizations and individuals, the challenge to meet its financial obligations is mounting.
The home is now administered by the St Christopher Children’s Home and Service League which on Thursday 8th March, 2012, held their Annual General Meeting, AGM, at the Ocean terrace Inn.
Addressing the members, current Chairman Mr. Sebastian Mottram, provided his members with a hard hitting report that spoke to the funding crisis facing the Home.
The chairman revealed that unfortunately, due to the difficult economic challenges faced by the Federation, the vital Government subvention has not been forthcoming but children continue to be placed in their care.
Mr Mottram explained that “The Home was established to provide a place of sanctuary for children at risk in the community, a place designated as a refuge. The Government recognized the importance of the role the Home played in the social structure and agreed to allocate an annual stipend to help with the running costs. However, as he said this is no more.
Mottram continued, “The Government and the Home work closely together in trying to achieve the same objectives – the safety and nurture of the child. The Home is ready and willing to open its arms to these victims of circumstance and fully supports the Social Workers making these very difficult assessments.
However, it is important to realize that the Home is a non-governmental organization – a stand-alone business, the success of which should not be taken for granted. It is hard to imagine the bleak future for our family at the Home if we were not able to continue – but without reliable funding, that is the harsh reality that must be addressed.”
Mr Mottram called for help from the Government and asked for consideration of the re-establishment of the funding to pay for children removed from the community. He also thanked the Government for their support in kind and said he looked forward to a closer practical working relationship in 2012.
In his report, Mr Mottram also spent some time recognising all those who had so kindly supported the Home over the last year and displayed a “Roll Call of Honour” listing the names of individuals and companies that he referred to as “Most Valued Players”, without whom, the Home could not continue.
The Treasurer, Mr Mahesh Nariani echoed Mr. Mottram’s concerns and said “We now rely entirely on the donations of companies, small businesses and philanthropists for financial support and just as crucial, donations in kind. Our fundraising efforts for 2012 must be much, much stronger because our outgoings are still not covered by our income. Also 2011 saw an escalation in cost of groceries of 105% and wages (including social security) by 35%.
Ms. Cheryl Wells the Home’s new Administrator was singled out for praise and was described as a “human dynamo” who, in her brief tenure, had already made significant and positive changes for the good. In her report she thanked all those who supported her in her role including the Public Works Department and the generous donors of fresh produce. She also thanked the several church groups for their visits to the Home and said their help was “much appreciated”.
Mrs Connie Jayne’s gave a lively presentation; illustrated with pictures of the children; of the work of the Friends of the Children’s Home; a volunteer group who work with the children on all sorts of activities from outings to homework. Mrs Jayne’s ended her talk with a recruitment drive asking for more helpers “We can never have enough volunteers” she laughed.
The AGM ended with a short ceremony for Lt. Colonel Norman Williams MBE who was presented with a plaque recognising his 15 years of dedicated service to the League. In a speech, given by Mr. Verner Ray John, the Colonel’s long and distinguished career in the Military and in the service of others was praised as an inspiration to all.
In general discussion after the meeting, it was explained that many potential donors within the community were under the misapprehension that the Home was a Government organisation and because of this they were unwilling to donate to a cause that, in their opinion was already being paid for out of their taxes. They also feel that this is an institution that should be paid for by Government and because of this they regard donating as paying the Government’s bills. It was generally agreed that these perceptions make a lose/lose situation that needs to change.
The new Children’s Home Board elected:
- Ms. Orita Bailey
- Mr. Dominic Matthew
- Mrs. Desdemona Henry
- Mr. Verner Ray John
- Mr Sebastian Mottram
- Ms. Kym Taylor
- Ms Azilla Clarke
- Mr. Lu Galasso
- Mrs. Sonia Daly-Finlay
- Mrs. Cleopatra Richards
For more information on the Home and details on volunteer opportunities please contact:
Ms. Cheryl Wells, Administrator, email@example.com; 465 4007
Mrs Connie Jaynes, Friends Co-ordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org;466 1277