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Fundraising drive launched to turn old rectory into treatment centre

Fundraising drive: From left, the Right Reverend Nicholas Dill, Bishop, Anglican Church of Bermuda; Sheelagh Cooper, chairwoman of Habitat for Humanity of Bermuda; Preston Swan, Acting Chief Operating Officer for the Bermuda Hospitals Board; Stephen Buckley, a BHB clinical manager; and Anna Neilson-Williams, BHB Chief of Psychiatry (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A fundraising drive was launched last week to help transform a former church rectory into a residential treatment centre.

Habitat for Humanity of Bermuda is working on the project with the Anglican Church of Bermuda and the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute.

After renovations are complete, the old St James Church rectory in Sandys will provide around-the-clock care for patients with long-term mental-health conditions.

Sheelagh Cooper, the chairwoman of Habitat for Humanity of Bermuda, said: “The historic building, which is beautiful but derelict, sits on a gorgeous property just east of Somerset Bridge.”

She added that the Bermuda Hospitals Board would run the facility.

Ms Cooper explained: “The objective of the project is to ultimately move all of the patients currently in MWI out of the antiquated institutional setting into community-based, smaller, more therapeutic homelike settings.”

She said the project was expected to cost between $500,000 and $600,000 but added that the Habitat ReStore, on Front Street, has already provided an initial grant of $200,000.

An official fundraising launch was held at the Bacardi headquarters last week, when guests enjoyed cocktails and canapés as well as the chance to win raffle prizes such as art, jewellery and spa days.

Ms Cooper said: “This launch event brought out many corporate partners and people in the community who are interested in seeing this important project come to fruition in Bermuda.

“There will be more events planned to raise funds over the next few months.”

Preston Swan, the Acting Chief Operating Officer at the Bermuda Hospitals Board, said last year that the project represented a shift in the way mental health treatment was provided – moving away from institutionalised care to community care.

He added then: “People with mental health needs have better outcomes when housed and supported in their local community, surrounded by their loved ones.

“Providing a stable rehabilitation model in the community helps to improve their quality of life and reduces the frequency of relapse and/or readmission to acute inpatient services.”

The former St James Church rectory is the second large-scale community-driven project by Habitat for Humanity.

In a partnership project with the Women’s Resource Centre, it restored a former rest home in Pembroke to become the Transformational Living Centre for Families, which opened last year

For more information on this project and upcoming events, visithabitat.bm.

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Published March 30, 2023 at 7:30 am (Updated March 30, 2023 at 7:30 am)

Fundraising drive launched to turn old rectory into treatment centre

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