A shelter for battered women and a day care centre for seniors are to be built by the Salvation Army, the church’s Divisional Commander for Barbados and St. Lucia, Major Darrell Wilkinson has announced.
The shelter would serve about 15 to 20 women and children, while the day care centre would accommodate approximately 30 senior citizens, he disclosed.
The Salvation Army is also introducing a mentorship programme where trained officers will be doing outreach, he added.
Major Wilkinson shared plans for the ventures with Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Cynthia Forde, as he led a Salvation Army delegation on a courtesy call to the minister on Wednesday.
Forde welcomed the three initiatives, noting that they were critical areas where the need was great.
She stressed to the Salvation Army official that security was important for a battered women’s shelter, urging that it also house their children.
Forde, as minister responsible for the elderly told the Salvation Army of her discovery that elder abuse has been “beyond my wildest dreams”.
She said to the delegation: “I receive so many letters, some of them handwritten, of our senior citizens being threatened by neighbours and being taken advantage of, not only by neighbours but by family, friends, pastors and lawyers.”
She said many of them had health issues caused by conditions such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes with no one to care for them.
She welcomed the proposed day care facility which, she said, would complement the National Assistance Board’s own facilities, and would offer the elderly somewhere to congregate and reminisce as well as to engage in handicraft, games and exercises which promoted wellness and kept them active.
The minister offered Government’s support to the Salvation Army in bringing the project to fruition, a Government statement said. It was not immediately clear what form that assistance would take.
Major Wilkinson was joined in the Salvation Army’s delegation by his wife, Major Joan Wilkinson, Divisional Director for Women’s Ministries, and Major Denzil Walcott, Community Relations Director.