The Barbados Children’s Trust will soon be turning its attention to completing a building at the Nightengale Complex to house babies.
That is the word from one of its Directors, Yvonne Brewer, who made the disclosure while speaking at the official opening of the Violet Gittens Centre at the Nightengale Complex, Black Rock, St. Michael. Prime Minister Freundel Stuart delivered the feature address and officially opened the Centre.
Mrs. Brewer said they were hoping to significantly extend the building, but admitted that they were facing some challenges with the site. "Most of the infrastructure here is old and needs addressing and we have a meeting next week with our Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, who helps us to organise our way forward…
"We need to look at the infrastructure here to make sure that the children will be safe on this site and that anything we build in the future will have longevity…What we would hope to achieve by the end of this year is to bring in all of the babies," she stated.
The Trust has already refurbished three cottages on the site and Mrs. Brewer pointed out that its vision was to create a children’s village for those under 12 years old.
She described the new purpose-built Centre, which has 26 beds, spacious dormitories and two therapy rooms, among other things, as "unique". "…We put a lot of time and effort into researching what would be the best way forward for these wonderful children and this building contains some very unusual features," an elated Mrs. Brewer stated.
Chairman of the Child Care Board (CCB), Maureen Graham, said the building represented "philanthropy in its purest sense, in that it is an act of love which is aimed at improving the quality of life for other persons".
Mrs. Graham stressed that as a community and nation, "we need to remind ourselves and our young people that positive, unselfish and noble actions are rewarded and that these qualities are to be emulated because they build strong characters".
She commended the Trust for the work done on the building, saying it was "hands-on" and consistent over a long period of time.
The Chairman said naming the Centre after Violet Gittens was fitting, since she worked tirelessly for children and she had an intimate bond with the Nightengale Home.
Mrs. Violet Gittens was born on July 12, 1912, and was associated with the field of child care since the 1940’s. She has been credited with removing the children from district hospitals and taking them to the Nightengale Home after its establishment in 1948. She worked in Trinidad and Barbados as a Child Care Social Worker and a Child Care Officer from 1965 to 1971. She was a member of the CCB from 1976 to 1992 and a member of all the committees established by the Board.