Cash crunch for Family Centre
Cycle for change!
Forced to innovate in tight economic times, the Family Centre is calling on residents to get on their bikes on November 17.
Cycle for Change is billed as “a unique, family-oriented cycling event”, offering quality time and an opportunity to raise desperately needed funds.
Cycle for Change will set out from the Botanical Gardens at 10am and follow the Railway Trail along South Shore Road to Trimingham Hill, and out to Somerset Bridge.
It has been launched in conjunction with the Bermuda End to End charity.
A registration fee of $20 per person will support the Family Centre’s portfolio of services for struggling local families.
Registration forms are available at local cycle shops, Buzz Restaurants, P-Tech and the Family Centre at 25 Point Finger Road, Paget.
Forms can also be requested by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The Family Centre must raise $200,000 in the next two months if it is to meet an unprecedented demand for its services.
Social workers say demand has doubled in the past three years and the organisation is now struggling to assist more than 300 families in urgent need.
The centre has been further hampered as its once annual $150,000 Government grant was cut in the last Budget.
Asked what would be cut if the charity fell short of its $200,000 goal, development officer Shawnta Simmons said: “We must [reach it]. It is not an option to not raise the funds.”
The charity had been doing extra fundraising since 2011 to compensate for the loss of its grant as the cut “wasn’t anticipated”, she added.
“We will continue to approach Government for support because, unfortunately at the moment, we have families on waiting lists.
“If we cut back programmes, the waiting list grows.”
The economic recession has presented a double hit for charities, she stated.
“It’s cyclical. There are economic problems and then families lose jobs and income, which just exacerbates problems that may not have really come to light before.
“We’re seeing more children, more families, and trying to give the best support that we can.”
As more and more families turn to the centre for help, social workers have had to prioritise.
“Our numbers have doubled since 2009, and in some areas we have stretched to provide additional services that are not as resource intensive to meet the demand,” Ms Simmons said.
She cited “people and their salaries” as the charity’s top expenses but insisted it was in need of more than just cash.
“We need people to provide counselling, parent education, practical family support, social work, behaviour intervention and so on. We need funding to train our staff to work with families and to consistently provide people to work with families.”
Along with its on-site services, the centre provides homework help through a programme funded primarily by HSBC and its Beyond Rugby programme accommodates children who might otherwise require more intensive services.
“Most of our programmes support and care for families who are struggling,” Ms Simmons said. “So I would definitely say that our need for funding is critical.”
The Family Centre provides counselling and other therapeutic services to hundreds of children each year.
Its latest initiative, Cycle for Change, takes place next week [see sidebar].
Executive director Martha Dismont said the event was aimed at bringing families together as well as raising much-needed cash for the organisation.
“We’ve dubbed this one Cycle for Change because that is our cause,” she said.
“We are breaking destructive cycles and building families and cultures that support health and happy childhoods for all.”
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