Bluefields Villas Foundation: An uplifting hand in the West
FOR OVER a decade, the Bluefields Villas Foundation (BVF) has been providing significant assistance to citizens of Bluefields Bay and adjoining communities in Westmoreland through social outreach projects.
The Bluefields Villas Foundation was established in 2009 to further effect and regularise charitable endeavours which were long undertaken by the proprietors of the luxury Bluefields Bay Villas, the Moncure family, who entered Jamaica’s tourism and leisure sector in 1982.
A significant component of BVF’s mandate is environmental advocacy. This includes the protection of both the physical surroundings, as well as the bay’s aquatic life.
As needed, the foundation donates funds to the Bluefields Fisherman’s Friendly Society to offset the cost for oil, food and other essentials for members of the patrol team whose vigilance helps to prevent fishing in restricted areas of the bay since it became an aquatic wildlife sanctuary in 2011. In previous years, the BVF team also played an active role in the Sea Turtle Protection Programme through cash donations to implement measures aimed at eliminating poaching of the endangered species.
The team has also been an influential force in advocating for proper solid waste management in Bluefields and surrounding communities. The foundation makes a generous monthly donation to the Bluefields Peoples Community Association, which covers the cost of the community’s anti-litter programme. The initiative encourages proper garbage disposal among citizens and provides a fortnightly income for some individuals who clean the three-mile stretch of the highway from Mearnsville to Belmont Academy. Trash cans and skips have also been put in place along the roadways by BVF. The team has also been instrumental in organising a coastline clean-up activity in previous years.
The BVF has established an ongoing and supportive relationship with healthcare workers in the parish. Last year, the charitable group provided over 300 lunches to nurses involved in over 20 COVID-19 vaccination drives in Savanna-la-Mar, Bluefields and Whitehouse. The team also donated a computer to the Bluefields Health Centre in 2021 to improve administrative services at the facility.
Members of the BVF team have also championed the cause of educational and community development through impactful welfare and education outreach initiatives.
Needy elderly citizens in Bluefields and nearby communities are able to access a stipend through the foundation’s welfare programme to boost their NIS payouts. During the recent festive season, the team also distributed over 300 care packages to the elderly and needy individuals.
Prior to the distribution of care packages, BVF donated 30 tablets to students at Belmont Academy who were without devices to access online classes. New furniture and modern flush toilets were also provided to Mearnsville All-Age School with funding by the foundation. The breakfast and lunch programmes at Belmont Academy and Mearnsville All-Age School are also subsidised by the BVF.
Houston Moncure, vice-chair of the Bluefields Villas Foundation, stated: “Our team at the Bluefields Villas Foundation is serious about community and educational development as well environmental preservation. People and planet are at the heart of what we do, so we try to streamline our projects towards improving the quality of the physical surroundings and the life of the citizens.”
He added: “The team is pleased to see that several individuals have been positively impacted by our charitable work over the past decade and we are optimistic about impacting more lives in the near future.”
Between 2020 and 2021, the BVF expended about $11.4 million on outreach projects in Westmoreland.