Project Allows Homeless Men To Give Back

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For many years, the occupants of The Clyde Gollop Night Shelter for Homeless Men have benefited from the benevolence of individuals, organisations and the community, and now they???ve been given the opportunity to reciprocate these actions with ???Project Give Back???.

Facilitator of ???Project Give Back???, Halisha Cheltenham, explained that it is a volunteer project which allows the occupants of the shelter to ???voluntarily give back to their community through provision of services to the Hindsbury Primary School???.

The Clyde Gollop Night Shelter for Homeless Men was first open in April of 1994 at Hindsbury Gap, St. Michael, with the aim of providing accommodation for homeless men in Barbados.

It provides supervised accommodation for a maximum of 34 men, between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. When the shelter was first established, its target population was males 50 years and older, however, since then, there has been an increase in the referrals of younger males in need of accommodation.

As a result, the National Assistance Board (NAB) has been focusing on social work intervention to link the occupants with their families and social services to ???facilitate their integration into main stream society???.

Ms. Cheltenham explained, ???The occupants of this shelter are homeless as a result of either emotional issues, lack of family support, unemployment, psychiatric illness, deportation, evictions and incarcerations???.

She added that ???Project Give Back??? therefore aims to address the stigma associated with homelessness, while providing the males with the opportunity to positively contribute to their community.

The Social Work student further stated that it ???aims to portray the occupants in a positive light, while building their self-esteem and bringing awareness to the skills of the occupants, thus creating avenues for employment???.??

In addition to this, the predominant goal is ???to build the relationship between the community and the Clyde Gollop Night Shelter for Homeless Men???.

The project, which bears the slogan, ???sometimes those who have little have the most to give???, is geared towards the enhancement of the physical environment of the school, and involves the painting of bathrooms and the creation of a ???green space??? for use by students.

Ms. Cheltenham shared that the project was implemented through three phases, which first entailed obtaining donations from businesses within the community.

The occupants were then put to work and began preparing and creating what is now known as the ???green space??? located behind the school, as well as painting the two bathrooms located on the upstairs block of the school.

Phase 3 of ???Project Give Back??? was the official handover which took place on Friday, April 24, on the school???s compounds, also located at Hindsbury Gap, St Michael.

The facilitator, who is also an Intern at the NAB, disclosed that the green space will be maintained by the 4H Club, Brownies, the Parent Teachers Association and Blossoms groups at the Hindsbury Primary School.

Additionally, she stated: ???To continue the relationship between the school and the Shelter; the occupants, supervised by a staff member, will assist with the maintenance for the first 15 days after the handover of the project, followed by one Saturday of each month.???

Ms. Cheltenham hopes that ???the key stakeholders continue to support not only community-based projects such as ???Project Give Back???, but projects that aim to empower vulnerable groups in society???.

deirdre.gittens@barbados.gov.bb

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