SVL kicks off $40m fire-safety project
Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL) has kicked off its $40-million fire-safety programme in state-run children’s homes with a Labour Day project at the Strathmore Children’s Home in Spanish Town, St Catherine.
On Labour Day, like Jamaicans across the country, a cadre of SVL volunteers went to the children’s home to assist with the refurbishing of the laundry room and the painting of the schoolhouse on the 154 Ardenne Road property.
With the assistance of certified contractors, the team tiled and painted the laundry facility. Marcia Tucker, who oversees the home, said the facelift was urgently needed as the laundry facilities come under immense pressure from the workload of caring for 47 wards aged two to 21 who reside at the home, some of whom will need lifetime care.
As a result of the special needs of some of the wards, a schoolhouse, which is headed by a fully certified education specialist, caters to those who need additional educational attention. The brightly coloured building and play structures, including swing sets, jungle gyms and seesaws, were repainted and repaired.
SVL president and CEO, Ann-Dawn Young Sang, said Labour Day at the home was a day well spent.
“This project means so much to us as a company, not just because it is aligned with our focus on state-run children’s homes, but because we feel like Strathmore and the other homes we interact with are part of our Supreme family. As families do, we have a multifaceted approach to making their lives easier and safer. We are here to paint and upgrade the property, but even more importantly, we have kicked off our promise to them and all children in state care to assist with their emergency systems,” she said.
Under the Labour Day 2019 theme, ‘Child Safety… it’s you, it’s me, it’s all a we!’, the Supreme Ventures Foundation (SVF), in association with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information decided to kick-start its public-private partnership project to provide children’s homes islandwide with fire-safety equipment, training and emergency plans on Labour Day at the Strathmore Children’s Home. The Spanish Town-based home is one of those identified by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency for the programme that spans two years.
The SVF’s fire-safety initiative is an effort to protect and support at-risk youth by addressing a fundamental child-welfare issue affecting this vulnerable group.
The project comes in the wake of several tragic incidents, mainly fires, at children’s homes in recent years, some of which have ended in tragedy. Out of audits done and assessments conducted at 50 homes across the island, significant gaps in the fire-safety infrastructure of the homes were identified.
The $40-million project, aimed at plugging these gaps, will serve to improve the fire-safety and security areas of children’s homes islandwide through the implementation of a fire-safety program as prescribed by the Jamaica Fire Brigade and the installation of fire safety equipment (smoke detectors, fire extinguishers), as well as signage and evacuation map, in the homes.
The scope of the project will also include fire-safety education and training for the wards, house mothers and other key stakeholders, as well as the installation of perimeter fencing for the homes that meet that need criteria.
There are over 50 homes included in the project, with 30 per cent of that number to be taken care of in year one.