Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo

All the homes being beautified under Government’s “Project Give Back” should be completed by the end of January, 2009.

This disclosure has come from Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, who said 41 houses across nine constituencies had been completed and four were being worked on.

She made the comments today while delivering welcoming remarks at a luncheon and concert hosted by her Ministry for close to 300 senior citizens at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium.

Dr. Byer Suckoo told the gathering: “The project has been successful so far, both in terms of the work completed to date and the relationships which have been forged between you, the senior citizens, and the youth. As Minister of Youth and Family, I will ensure that further initiatives are put in place throughout the year to continue these relationships and also to ensure that you live out your remaining years in comfort.”

Reiterating that Government was committed to caring for all Barbadians in their senior years, she identified some of the proposed initiatives as increasing the minimum threshold of pensions, introducing a deductible allowance for nursing home fees, and generally making life easier and comfortable for them.         

The first component of “Project Give Back” was the beautification programme which targetted the homes of 12 senior citizens from each of the 30 constituencies. The young people painted houses and de-bushed and cleaned the environs of the properties. The second aspect of the programme was today’s luncheon and concert which saw young people entertaining the elderly folk.

At a press briefing earlier in the day, Dr. Byer Suckoo stated that of the $231,000 that had been allocated to the project, some $122,000 had been spent so far. She attributed this to the greater response than expected from corporate Barbados, including Berger Paints and Harris Paints.

She said the young people had responded “enthusiastically” to “Project Give Back”, while the senior citizens were “touched” because of the care shown by those involved. She promised that the project would be launched after the summer next year, so that more people could get involved and more houses spruced up.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Irvin Best, said a serious evaluation would be done at the end, so the information could be used to inform and enhance the programme.

Several groups, including the Barbados Youth Service, the Barbados Youth Development Council, the 74th Girl Guides’ group from Harrison College, the Rangers, the Barbados Defence Force Sports Council and some families worked on the homes.

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