The new school term has started off on a bright note for students of the Lester Vaughan school. Today, they were gifted a new water station designed to encourage them to maintain healthy drinking habits.
Newport Water, with the help of First Caribbean International Bank, unveiled the new station which is part of Newport’s drive to deploy several water stations to schools and public spaces across the island.
Newport Water representative, Alicia Jarvis, said the morning’s presentation was part of their Hydrate Barbados initiative, with the aim of making clean drinking water more accessible to Barbadians.
“We are focusing right now on Hydrate Barbados because we recognize that water might not be accessible to everyone on the go. You might bring your bottle from home and then you are forced to buy a plastic bottle and then that ends up littering the ocean, landfills and environment. We are trying to get away from that, and encourage people to go reusable, have their bottles on hand and they will be able to interact with our stations as they pop up across the island,” she said.
Childhood diabetes also poses a serious threat to schoolchildren on the island, with the number of cases steadily increasing over the last decade. Drinking water is a healthier option to sweet drinks. And Jarvis said she hoped that with her company’s increased interest in being socially responsible, that others would come on board to help expand the initiative.
“We are making the call to corporate Barbados to come on board, sponsor one of these stations [to] ensure you do your part for your corporate social responsibility programs, to make pure water accessible to everyone,” Jarvis added.
The new fountain can provide both cold and room temperature water, with foot pedals being used to trigger the dispenser. With these pedals in place, health and safety protocols being followed for COVID-19 can be easily maintained.
Principal of the school, Anthony Alleyne, said that students and staff were grateful for the donation, especially with the high temperatures the island has been experiencing of late.
“At the Lester Vaughan School we are very grateful to Newport Barbados and First Caribbean for the contribution of this water fountain. It is very timely given the high temperatures that we are facing right now, and it will definitely bring some comfort to our students. What is great too, in the era of COVID-19, the features of the pump allow our students to remain hydrated and still maintain a level of safety following the various protocols,” he said.