On June 15, 2021, The Hub – People Helping People – said “Thank You” to the delegation of the European Union (EU) to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS and CARICOM, as well as other key persons who partnered with The Hub to assist in achieving its objective which is moving vulnerable persons out of poverty.
In February 2018, the EU provided a three-year grant to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgetown for this project.
Support was also received from US-based company Food for the Poor, local benefactors and the Diocese of Bridgetown.
Head of Cooperation with the EU delegation to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS, CARICOM/CARIFORUM, Luis Maia was in attendance at the ‘thank you’ event along with Archbishop Jason Gordon who had initiated the project, recently appointed Bishop Neil Scantlebury and Marjorie Riley, the Hub’s Manager. Members of the Hub’s Advisory Committee, skilled volunteers and persons
who had conducted workshops and interacted with the clients over the years, also attended the event.
In her remarks Riley extended special thanks to the successive EU Ambassadors and Luc Patzelt for the opportunity given to the Hub to undertake this important work in the community from February 2018 to January 2021. She also thanked Archbishop Jason Gordon for his tremendous support and guidance, and all persons who willingly gave their time and specialist skills to help the Hub’s clients over the years.
A warm thank you was also extended to the Hub’s team members who journeyed with the clients and played a key role in moving many from dependency to a greater level of confidence and self-sufficiency. Riley also extended special thanks to the government agencies with whom her team interacted and built a strong working relationship.
Riley disclosed that the EU funded project allowed the Hub to also carry out a study to understand “The Nature of Poverty and the Experiences of the Poor in Barbados”. As a result of that work, a valuable “Stages of Poverty Scale” was developed by the Hub team, demarcating the stages of poverty, and the progress each individual makes during those stages.
With the EU grant The Hub also provided over 120 households with food hampers, assisted over 80 households with their utility bills and over 50 households with rent. Training seminars were conducted to strengthen skills, 26 scholarships were awarded for persons to attend educational, technical or vocational training institutions, and a number of small businesses were established. One regret however was that the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the progress that was being made.
The Hub was established by the Diocese of Bridgetown in December 2014 to assist over 3000 workers who had lost their jobs in both the public and private sectors. Initially, assistance was given to help them meet their basic needs.
They were also taught new skills to enhance their opportunities to find jobs. As a result of these efforts, some persons were able to secure employment or even start their own businesses, and some persons eventually become more self-sufficient.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgetown continues its mission to help vulnerable persons to move out of poverty through the Hub and its parish care ministries. Since its establishment in December 2014, the Hub has assisted over 483 persons. (PR)