Saturday 21 September, 2019

SVL kicks off fire safety project for children’s homes on Labour Day

Fire Alarm Technician from National Supply Limited, Eaton McKoy replaces a fire extinguisher at the schoolhouse at the Strathmore Children’s Home in Spanish Town, St Catherine. Looking on are Supreme Ventures Limited Chief Marketing Officer, Heather Goldson (far left); President and CEO, Ann-Dawn Young Sang and house mother, Marcia Tucker.

Fire Alarm Technician from National Supply Limited, Eaton McKoy replaces a fire extinguisher at the schoolhouse at the Strathmore Children’s Home in Spanish Town, St Catherine. Looking on are Supreme Ventures Limited Chief Marketing Officer, Heather Goldson (far left); President and CEO, Ann-Dawn Young Sang and house mother, Marcia Tucker.

Supreme Ventures Limited has kicked off its $40 million fire safety programme in State-run children’s homes with a Labour Day project at the Strathmore Children’s Home in Spanish Town, St Catherine.

On Labour Day, like Jamaicans across the country, a cadre of SVL volunteers went to the children’s home to assist with the refurbishing of the laundry room and the painting of the schoolhouse on the 154 Ardenne Road property.

With the assistance of certified contractors, the team tiled and painted the laundry facility.

Marcia Tucker, who oversees the home, says the facelift was urgently needed as the laundry facilities come under immense pressure from the workload of caring for 47 wards aged two to 21, who reside at the home, some of whom will need lifetime care.

SVL Labour Day project at Strathmore Children’s Home

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As a result of the special needs of some of the wards, a schoolhouse, which is headed by a fully certified education specialist, caters to wards who need additional educational attention. The brightly coloured building and play structures, including swing sets, jungle gym and seesaws, were repainted and repaired.

SVL President and CEO, Ann-Dawn Young Sang said Labour Day at the home was a day well spent.

“This project means so much to us a company, not just because it is aligned with our focus on State Run children’s homes but because we feel like Strathmore and the other homes we interact with are part of our Supreme family. As families do, we have a multifaceted approach to making their lives easier and safer. We are here to paint and upgrade the property but even more importantly we have kicked off our promise to them and all children in State Care to assist with their emergency systems,” she said.

Under the Labour Day 2019 theme ‘Child Safety… it’s you, it’s me, it’s all ah we!’, the Supreme Ventures Foundation in association with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information decided to kick start its public-private partnership project to retrofit children’s homes islandwide with fire safety equipment, training and emergency plans on Labour Day at Strathmore Children’s Home.

The Spanish Town-based home is one of the homes identified by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) for the programme that spans two years.

SVF’s fire safety initiative is an effort to protect and support at-risk youth by addressing a fundamental child welfare issue affecting this vulnerable group. The project comes in the wake of several tragic incidents, mainly fires, at children’s homes in recent years, some of which have ended in tragedy. Out of audits done and assessments conducted at 50 homes across the island, significant gaps in the fire safety infrastructure of the homes were identified.

The $40 million project, aimed at plugging these gaps, will serve to improve the fire safety and security areas of children’s homes island-wide, through the implementation of a fire safety program as prescribed by the Jamaica Fire Brigade and the installation of fire safety equipment (smoke detectors, fire extinguishers) as well as the installation of relevant signage, and evacuation maps for the homes.

The scope of the projects will also include fire safety education and training for the wards, house mothers and other key stakeholders as well as the installation of perimeter fencing for the homes that meet that need criteria.

There are over 50 homes included in this project with 30 per cent of that number to be taken care of in year one.

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