The Minister of Family, Stephen Lashley and Chairperson of the Barbados Children’s Trust, Sue Sangster, break ground at the site for the new Children’s Village, Nightengale Complex in Black Rock, St. Michael yesterday at the Barbados Children’s Trust ground-breaking ceremony. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Government wants to develop a new day care facility at the Harbour Industrial Estate, and has called on those businesses in Bridgetown which will benefit from the project to assist in making it a reality.

While delivering the feature address yesterday at a ground-breaking ceremony at the Nightengale Complex in Black Rock, Minister of Family, Stephen Lashley, said Government would like the project developed "fairly soon".

According to him, establishing a facility there would offer parents, who worked in the area, peace of mind, knowing that their children were close by and were being looked after properly.

"This is a venture that I believe all businesses within the catchment area should support financially and in other intangible ways because it will redound to their benefit.

"Once parents are able to have access to day care within that area, our businesses there will be more productive because our parents will spend more time dealing with the immediate work task …," he suggested.

The Nightengale Complex is being transformed by the Barbados Children’s Trust into a Children’s Village which is expected to accommodate children in Barbados under the age of 12, who are in need of care and protection.

Mr. Lashley disclosed that phase one of the project, which was the refurbishment of three cottages – Roseneath for the boys, Lily Cot for the girls, and Ixora for both sexes and siblings, depending on the demand at the time – had already been completed.

"Phase two of the project will commence today (yesterday) with the ground-breaking ceremony for a purpose-built facility to accommodate children with special needs. This building will be a state-of-the-art facility, which will be the home for 24 children.

"It will provide the needed stimulation for those children with limited mobility, developmental delays, sensory and communication deficits. Significant attention will be paid to the quality of the environment and the inputs that these children need to ensure that their lives are developed to the optimum," he stressed.

Minister of Family, Stephen Lashley and the Director of the Child Care Board, Joan Crawford, examine the architectural drawings for the new Children’s Village, Nightengale Complex, Black Rock, yesterday at the Barbados Children’s Trust ground-breaking ceremony. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

The Minister explained that phase three of the project would involve the expansion of the cottage at the entrance of the complex to accommodate babies. "As these phases are completed, further work will be considered as funds become available to ensure that this Children’s Village becomes a reality and a model for the future care of our children who, for whatever reason, are unable to be cared for in their families of origin," he stated.

Mr. Lashley said the invaluable assistance of the Trust would help the Child Care Board, and by extension, Government, to be more cost efficient as it would allow for the better management of the processes and maintenance of the buildings.

"In addition, as these phases are completed and as the children are moved to the Children’s Village, the existing buildings across the island will be utilised by the Child Care Board for day care, which is in dire need of space as the demand currently outstrips the supply," he pointed out.

The Barbados Children’s Trust has collaborated with the Child Care Board on a number of initiatives, including the refurbishment of the Ellerton Day Nursery in St. George.


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