New Board for Montserrat Children’s Society

A new board was elected last week in the Annual General Meeting of the Montserrat Children’s Society (MCS).

The Executive Committee for 2017, duly nominated and seconded, are:-

  • President – Helena Catherine Dorsett
  • Vice President – Billy Darroux
  • Projects/Fundraising Officer – Austin Howe
  • Treasurer – Bhavika Valechha
  • Secretary – Colette Bates

MCS is a registered not for profit organization that believes that every child has a right to a safe and healthy environment that enables him or her to reach their full potential. It was founded in February 2013.

Funds are raised primarily through an annual dinner, the next of which is slated for Saturday March 25th at the Governor’s Residence. It be will an Italian affair with an auction, raffle prizes and accompanying music. Tickets are $60 and can be purchased from Hilltop Coffee House, Dr Asha, Victor’s Supermarket and Colette Bates.

Montserrat Children’s Society Annual Report For the Year 2016

Good Evening

Excellencies, Members of the Clergy, Hon. Ministers and other Hon. Guests, ladies and gentlemen; During the year under review the Montserrat Children’s Society held monthly meetings normally at its base in Look-out. These are attended by members in person and via Skype and chaired by the Vice President, Dr. Asha Puttaswamy.

mcs-agmThe organisation successfully carried the summer flagship programmes, the Summer Day Care Play Scheme and the Work Placement Project for vulnerable young people. In addition, individual members of the organisation provided one to one advice to parents. In cases of hardship which affected the learning or health of a vulnerable child the MCS has provided support to parent on a one-off basis and in consultation with the relevant professional bodies.

In order to fund its projects and the other support provided to vulnerable children and parents, the MSC apply for support from Social Services Department as well as carry out fundraising activities.

The organisation is fortunate also to have the support of a number of sponsors, both individuals and businesses.

For the fourth year in succession, the MCS provided a summer play scheme from 18th July to 26th August at the Look-out nursery school for children between the ages 4-7. The play-scheme enabled the children to be looked after during the summer vacation whILE their parents are at work and the average daily attendance was 30 children.

For the first time we were able to employ a head-teacher to manage the project and received excellent feedback from the parents. The project was organised by Dr. Puttaswamy and overseas by the Secretary, Mrs. Colette Bates and the Treasurer Mrs. Bhakiva Valechha.

The youth that take part in the Youth Scheme are nominated by Social Services and this year MCS found full-time and part-time placement for six young people for six weeks during July and August.

MSC members are at hand to assist parents and volunteer employers, providing mentorship where needed and ensuring each young person receive the best possible experience from the placement.

In turn each child receives a small stipend of $20 per day . Our thanks to the employers involved: Romeos Wayside, the Montserrat National Trust, The Montserrat Red Cross, Beauty Plus Salon, the Montserrat Public Library and our own Montserrat Children’s Summer Play Scheme with support from the manager of the project, Mrs. Denelta Weekes.

In acknowledgement of the UN’s mandate to countries to establish a Universal Children’s Day bringing together children of all nationality race and creed, the MCS held a Fund Day on the 19th November, ahead of Universal Day on the 20 th November. This was held at the Little Bay Cricket Ground and the MCS took the opportunity to congratulate and present an award to young Zwandie White, who joined the West Indies Cricket under-16 Team.

The major fundraising activity in 2016 took place during the St. Patrick’s Day week of celebrations when the MCS organised a Taste of India Dinner hosted at the Government House and we take this opportunity to once again thank HE the Governor and members of her staff for making this possible.

During the last year the MCS has sought to institutionalise the organisation putting in place and improving policy guidelines for child safeguarding and job descriptions for different MCS executive members. Those of our members whose work is within the area of social care and social development provide the necessary support to ensure that the organisation is in good standing and here mention has to be made of Mrs. Cilla Owen, who though not now living in Montserrat continue to work with others on island in this regard.

Two executive members have resigned their position due to other commitments and moving abroad. Mrs. Vidya Birkhoff, public relations officer and Ms. Elrose Lindsey, Fundraising Officer, although the latter has committed to giving her continued support to the organisation. Sadly I have to report the death of one of our great supporters and founding member of MCS, Mr. Mark Turner.

Mark was fully committed to the organisation and this continued even when he left Montserrat and I remember well my last meeting with him at the Lucy Faithfull offices in Surrey when we were scoping what role the MCS would play in any proposed child safeguarding programme. Mark’s work will always be embedded in the work of the MCS.

To continue to provide the service it does and to build on it, the organisation is in need of new members, both on the executive and ordinary members. This would make it possible to capitalise on the support received from the public and to further raise awareness of the vulnerability of our children so that they can get the help they need. I hope therefore that those of you present who are not members would join the organisation and those who are members would take a seat on the executive committee.

After four years as President, I will not put forward my name as a nominee for this position but will continue to support and promote the organisation.

Our list of donors include: Mr. Tony Bates, Bank of Montserrat, Digicel, Flow, Ministry of Education, Health, Social Services, Ministry of Youth Arts and Culture, Royal Bank of Canada

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