After several years of helping young people with developmental disabilities get gainful employment, the Barbados Association for Supported Employment (BASE) says it is in need of cash to keep its doors open amidst a growing demand for its services.
Given the current economic circumstances, the relatively unknown organization, which is a division of the Learning Centre, is making every effort to ensure it stays open so it can continue to provide the necessary help.
The exact number of persons who are living in Barbados with developmental challenges that affect them physically and/or mentally is not immediately known.
However, Supervisor at BASE Joy-Ann Grazette-Corbin told Barbados TODAY there were dozens of people lining up to benefit from the nine-year-old organization’s support, but it did not have the financial capacity and space to meet the demand.
“The facility was created as a place to keep them productive and we found that they have grown immensely,” she said, adding that for some time, BASE has been catering to ten people who have not yet been able to find employment.
The charitable organization provides training and social support for people with developmental disabilities, ages 18 and older, and educational and training programmes for children with learning disabilities who are between ages four and 18.
The young adults are trained in a variety of areas including culinary services, customer service, art and craft and laundry services.
While the intention was to train the young people and get them gainful employment, Grazette-Corbin said achieving this has been tough in recent times as fewer companies were willing to take them on in the current economic climate.
While the organization receives a subvention from the disabilities unit every quarter, it is simply not enough to go beyond paying the bills and providing some of the materials needed for each day’s work.
Faced with the need to provide adequate assistance to those in need, BASE has decided to host a concert on June 30, at the Ellerton Wesleyan Holiness Church, to complement its occasional cake and art and craft sales.
“We are aiming to raise the funds that we need to keep the place in existence,” said Grazette-Corbin.
“This will provide for the material that we need in terms of our baking and craft so that we can continue to sell. We sell some of the things we make and the young people get a little stipend. So it will allow us to get some of the equipment we need,” she said.
Grazette-Corbin said the gospel concert, which will feature a wide range of talents and performances spanning singing, drama and dance, promised to be a fulfilling one.
The end of month concert entrance fee is $20 for adults and ten dollars for children. (MM)