From left: Prime Minister, David Thompson; Trustee of the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust, Pip Challis; Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo; and trustee Julian Sacher admire the refurbished Nightengale Reception Centre.

Thanks to the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust, the Child Care Board (CCB) now has a completely refurbished and expanded reception centre at Black Rock, St. Michael, built at a cost of some $700,000.

The centre, a temporary facility used to house all children who are taken into residential care, was officially opened yesterday by Prime Minister David Thompson.

Speaking at the opening, Trustee of the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust, Julian Sacher, explained that the aim of the centre was to "take away at least part of the trauma and provide a place that was indeed welcoming, clean, modern, with separate facilities for boys and girls, enough showers and toilets, areas to relax, areas to do homework and a nice place to be able to go to bed in!"

He noted that the mandate of the Trust was to help Barbados’ children in need, whether through large projects such as the reception centre, or, by providing help on an individual level.

"This is a trend that we are seeing today, even more frequently, help on an individual level … due in large part to the world economic situation which has inevitably touched us here in Barbados. As Government and the private corporate sectors are put under increasing pressure, so cuts in all areas are made, but as is so often the case, the needs of all, particularly as in our areas of focus, the children’s needs are more prevalent than ever," Mr. Sacher observed.

In her brief remarks, Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, expressed the hope that the residential centre would not mark the end of the association between the CCB and the Trust.

??"There is a lot more to be done. The CCB, with limited resources, really does have a heart for the children of Barbados and to see that every child has the proper conditions [in] which he or she can grow or thrive. We need all the assistance we can get and so we appreciate the generosity of the Sandy Lane Trust in this venture.

"I want to assure you that we will put this facility to good use, we will maintain it. We know the value of this not just to you, but to us and to the children who are going to be here and we will maintain it, so that for many decades to come this will serve the children of Barbados and you will have no cause to regret your input into this facility," Dr. Byer Suckoo stated.

The Nightengale Reception Centre is the result of the vision of Director and Deputy Director of the CCB, Joan Crawford and Denise Nurse, respectively.

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