Walker’s Place of Safety gets $6 million so far towards its rebuilding
Prime Minister Andrew Holness offers words of comfort to wards of Walker's Place of Safety at Lyndhurst Crescent in Kingston, following an early morning fire in January of this year. (File photo via Jamaica Information Service)
Some $6 million has so far been received by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) towards the rebuilding of Walker's Place of Safety in Kingston, which was gutted by a massive fire in January of this year, in which two wards of the state perished.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the agency, Rosalee Gage-Grey, made the disclosure on Monday following the presentation of a cheque valued at $100,000 by St Catherine High School at the agency's Duke Street office in downtown Kingston.
She said a technical team has been set up by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information to oversee the rebuilding of the facility, which at the time of its destruction housed more than 30 wards.
“The plan is to rebuild at the same location... we are working to get the estimates so that we can share with our partners who have offered to give some contribution,” she said.
Gage-Grey said it is hoped that construction will be completed by the end of the year.
The new facility, which will house no more than 30 residents, is also to have counselling rooms and a play room, among other amenities.
“It will have the full gamut; state-of-the-art,” Gage-Grey indicated.
The donation from St Catherine High School also included 12 boxes of clothes, books and toys.
The institution is the latest contributor to the rebuilding of the pace of safety and the welfare of the former residents.
Gage-Grey said while cash contributions will offset the rebuilding costs, all donations are welcome.
“Because we are focusing on the rebuilding efforts, we wouldn't mind contributions in cash, but there is always the need for care items, non-perishable items, because we also share with other facilities and families who have been affected. We have our Children and Family Care and Support Unit, and we have been able to share some of what we have received with them as well, and so whatever contributions will be well received,” she said.
In the meantime, Gage-Grey said the agency will shortly roll out a programme focusing on the needs of all childcare facilities. She said further details will be provided by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Floyd Green.
The donation from St Catherine High School falls under the Love Care Project, which was organised by the peer counsellors at the institution.
Gage-Grey lauded the students for giving back.
“We have seen a number of schools that have come together to collect donations for the children at Walker's, and we find that very heartening to know that children see the need to give back, and we are quite appreciative of that,” she said.