Wed | Oct 18, 2017

Barrett batting for Manchester street people

Published:Thursday | December 22, 2016 | 12:00 AMCecelia Campbell Livingston
Bridgette Barrett
Bridgette Barrett gives a medicure to a homeless man.
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MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

Some 40 homeless persons in Manchester will enjoy what many 'regular' folks have not - total pampering.

They will be treated to a spa and luncheon session that will be held today on the grounds of the Parish Church Hall and will see them receiving manicures, pedicures and facials.

Bridgette Barrett, regional director of RSVP Caribbean Volunteers, the team responsible for the special treat, told Rural Xpress they will be going all out for them while ensuring they have a refreshing bath and get all dressed up.

"Then they are going to sit and dine under a tent," she said. The treat will begin with breakfast, then after being groomed, they will partake in lunch.

"Their day won't be finished yet as following that, they will enjoy activities such as playing ludo, football, and dominoes," shared Barrett.

She said RSVP was formed to provide an avenue for volunteers from overseas to come to Jamaica to give back in areas of critical need, and also to give local volunteers an avenue where they can serve.

"We have recruits from Europe, North America who come here to assist," she said.

Among the projects the group has embarked on since its formation last year are going into various communities to do health education, assisting with health-care work in hospitals, assisting physical education teachers in schools, as well as child-care and protection work in children's homes.

 

Monthly feeding programme

 

But the project that is near and dear to Barrett's heart is looking out for the homeless.

"Just to see the smiles on their faces and the look of expectancy when you going through the town and they see you," she said of the monthly feeding programme RSVP carries out for the homeless.

Fired with a passion to look out for them, she is happy an awareness is being built on homelessness - but there is still a far way to go.

"We are making a good impact in terms of our educational outreach and we will be taking it a step further with a pilot project," she informed.

"Right now, we are doing a pilot in Manchester. We have been collecting information on all 43 persons who are homeless," she said.

"We think we can get them off the streets, some just need rehabilitation," said Barrett, adding that they will be working on a plan of action which will eventually see them off the streets, gainfully employed and set up into homes.

Barrett, who hails from Heathfield in south Manchester, has a background in social work and sociology.

rural@gleanerjm.com