The LCCAs unsung heroine
Look at any great charity and theres usually an unsung hero, someone working quietly behind the scenes.
For Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association, that person is Veronica Harvey.
Shes worked as the charitys executive director for the past five years.
She wasnt always involved in charity work. In university she studied health and nutrition, but when she returned to Bermuda there werent many jobs available for dietitians. So she went into the reinsurance industry. After 13 years, she was made redundant and life took another direction again.
I went through a skill reassessment, she said. I think the health aspect has helped me with this job. It provided an avenue of interest for me. Before coming here to work, I was familiar with the LCCA, just as a name. As a child you heard about it from your parents. I dont think it has a low profile at all, but we go about doing the work of assisting people quietly.
LCCA is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. Through a government grant, it provides funds to help people pay for overseas medical treatment. It also provides general assistance to the community with privately raised funds.
Ms Harvey believed it was her compassion and general interest in people that helped her work at LCCA.
It is very gratifying to be able to assist people in need, she said. The stress comes in when either the persons need doesnt fit the criteria of the association or we dont have the funds to be able to assist people with their needs. We can only assist according to the money that we have available. I think I bring a genuine interest in people and wanting them to be able to make ends meet. You can read in The Royal Gazette that making ends meet is becoming more of a struggle for more and more people in Bermuda.
Her job includes interviewing clients and their families about their needs. She also liaises with other organisations who sometimes refer clients, such as Age Concern or PALS. They also work very closely with the Government Financial Assistance Department.
The money given to help people in the overseas medical treatment programme is a loan, and people are expected to pay back what they can, she said. There are three of us working in the LCCA office and we really build a relationship with the people who come in regularly to make payments. If you see them in the street they are quite happy.
For our general assistance programme if people are in need and we cannot assist, because we do not assist on a long-term basis, we refer the client to [governments] Financial Assistance Department. Sometimes if we are not able to assist someone in our general assistance programme we will call other possible benefactors. In one case, we had a lady who needed reconstructive surgery. At that time reconstructive surgery was considered cosmetic; I dont know if that is the case now. She had been declined assistance from other agencies because she needed to spend an extended period of time overseas. I was able to call a company who had an employee donations programme and asked them if they could assist. They were able to find the lady some funds.
The LCCA has seen an increase in requests for help with day to day needs such as food and utilities. This is due to the increasing economic pressures facing many Bermudians.
As evidenced by a recent story in your newspaper, there are people out there who are really in need that we as a community dont know about, she said.
In her leisure time she enjoys travelling. She also gets up at the crack of dawn every weekday morning to go to the gym, and she often walks in the evening.
I have always been health-conscious and this is probably because of my undergraduate degree in food and nutrition, she said. In the community, I think there could always be more preventive health programmes. It probably needs to start at a young age so that people are able to make the right choices.
One of the inspirations in her life has been her parents, the late Clement and Rose Harvey. Her father was a taxi driver and her mother was headmistress at Elliott Primary for many years. She has four siblings.
My father was a people person, said Ms Harvey. He would often bring tourists to the house just to see local living. He was a very caring person. Both my parents cared a lot about people.
For the future of the LCCA, she hoped the charity would see at least another 80 years of existence.
We look to continue to help people in need, she said. Everything depends on the amount of donations and support we receive from the public. We are looking forward to launching a new website, hopefully at the end of this month, www.lcca.bm.;
The LCCA will be celebrating their anniversary with a special luncheon and talk with epidemiologist Michael Ashton on May 1 at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess. Tickets, $65, are available until tomorrow, by calling 292-1132.
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