HSBC backs programme for single mothers
A programme to help struggling mothers to provide for their families has been backed by a bank for three years.
The Women’s Resource Centre welcomed a $90,000 donation from HSBC Bermuda, which will also provide staff as tutors and mentors for the scheme.
Ten women will take part in a pilot Transformational Support Services programme focused on education, life skills and employability training next month.
Elaine Butterfield, the WRC executive director, explained that the charity had been “a place of refuge and support for women and their families who have found themselves in difficult situations” for more than 30 years.
She said: “This programme has been developed according to the needs of those who use our services.
“We have identified the areas we see in women who are underperforming in life and this programme is designed to help them turn their lives around by becoming economically self-sufficient.
“The programme has been fully funded for three years by HSBC and has five pillars, which include a needs assessment, empowerment education, job training, employability skills development and transitioning and ongoing support.
“The aim of the programme is to help women who are unemployed, uneducated and maybe even homeless get good jobs to be able to provide for themselves and their families.
“Each participant will go through a needs assessment.
“For instance, do they need addiction counselling? Do they have mental health issues? They will also go through literacy and numerical assessment and placement tests. We want to assess if and how we can really help.”
Ms Butterfield revealed that the pilot programme was oversubscribed, with women referred through other helping agencies.
She said criteria included that the participants were at least 25, preferably single parents — so that the effects of issues such as homelessness on children could be reduced — eligible for financial assistance, and had difficulties with housing as well as gaining or maintaining employment.
Ms Butterfield said: “We are also going to assess their life skills ability and training — we don’t assume that everyone knows what healthy relationships look like.
“We’re going to be taking them through assertiveness, self-esteem and self-awareness programmes.
“These are at the core of the programme but we will also be looking at money management, parenting and co-parenting skills as well as employability skills such as initiative, motivation, teamwork, numeracy, literacy, organisation, time management, work ethic and integrity.
“They may need to understand how to dress and behave in the workplace and we will help them to develop positive attitudes about themselves and others.”
It is expected that the scheme will expand to include 20 women in its second and third years, when it will be transferred from the charity’s base on Church Street to the Transformational Living Centre for Families being developed in Pembroke by the WRC and Habitat for Humanity of Bermuda.
HSBC staff will help to tutor and mentor the women, the Department for Workforce Development is on board to help with training and academic tutorials, while Ultimate Imaging diagnostic services will provide health information.
The impact and efficiency of the programme will be evaluated in its third year.
Ms Butterfield added that the WRC was “most grateful to HSBC for their support and sponsorship, which will undoubtedly transform the lives of many through this process”.
Yolanda Outerbridge, the bank’s head of human resources in Bermuda, said: “We are very proud to sponsor such a comprehensive programme.
“It will no doubt benefit those that are a part of it. Its overall focus on all aspects of need will provide a very good foundation for success.
“HSBC is proud to be able to play a part in helping women become not just financially independent but also to achieve a sense of pride in themselves.”
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