Sunday, April 14, 2024

NAB appealing for funds

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The National Assistance Board (NAB) is calling on the private sector for financial assistance as it goes ahead with new projects to assist needy Barbadians.

Stating that the private sector normally offered items such as food and assisted with decorating some of their 16 homes during special occasions, NAB chairman Dr David Durant said the board would like the assistance to be extended to also include monetary donations.

“We propose going to Government to secure an acre of land on which we can construct some two-bedroom houses for emergency purposes. And I have no problem with the private sector donors having their names associated with the project and displayed in the area,” Durant said.

It is the first time the NAB is going public with this appeal for financial assistance from the private sector, but Durant pointed out that the requests for assistance from the board were increasing. He added that some of their homes were at maximum capacity and some nearing there.

“Right now we are at maximum capacity at the elderly day care centre in The Pine that we officially opened in December, 2015. That home, which accommodates 30 people, needs now to be retrofitted and extended,” the chairman said.

The 16 facilities have a capacity of 400 people and the NAB has a total staff complement of about 265. This includes almost 200 home helpers who care for roughly 1 000 people per month.

Speaking against the background of an ageing population, NAB director Charyn Wilson said there was a need for more staff to adequately address the needs of the elderly. She pointed out that over the last three years, quite a few of the workers had been appointed, the last batch being in October when 40 received their letters.

In terms of the board’s outreach to the community, Wilson said there was an upcoming seminar in February for men and their sons and grandsons which would cover a variety of topics that impacted men.

The director also told the DAILY NATION that the NAB was seeing an increasing number of young people being dislocated. She said there was a time when the ages were higher, but now it was trending downwards, with more men than women coming for assistance.

Most of the dislocation was occurring because some family units were not strongly knit, people were being evicted more frequently from residences and others were made homeless following house fires.

Wilson also highlighted the fact that the board had a volunteer programme, with 17 people offering assistance.

“They voluntarily give of their time and provide companionship for the elderly in ways such as reading to them, playing games with them. This is a programme that got off the ground in 2011-2012 with the support of the Ministry [of Social Care].” (JB)

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