New units for seniors
New units that help seniors to live independently were opened thanks to a partnership between the Bermuda Housing Trust, the Government and private donors.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the recently renovated Westcott Cottage in Ferguson Park, St David's, was held on August 28.
The property was opened by Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, and Brownlow Place, the BHT's oldest resident at 104.
John Barritt, the trust's chairman, said: “This initiative is a wonderful example of collaboration between the BHT, the Bermuda Government and private donors, one that provides community-based living for a sector of our population that is increasing.
“The trust believes this type of accommodation is critical for our senior clients as it represents an affirmation of their commitment, and ours, to a quality of life which, notwithstanding their age or financial circumstances, allows them to continue to lead independent lives.”
Mr Barritt added: “Minister Burch was supportive of this project from the very first day we brought our plans to his attention and that support was shown time and time again whenever we went to him for assistance.
“He mobilised and made happen any help we needed making collaboration a working reality, and now a model for future projects with Government.”
Colonel Burch said: “This project is a start, a welcome start, on what the trust and the Ministry of Public Works have in mind.
“The model of a Government-trust partnership, a kind of public-private partnership that has been made possible through the Bermuda Housing Corporation, providing oversight services for the project at no cost to the trust.
“This will help to keep costs down as the trust looks to provide the necessary funding for the actual work. The hope and the aim is to continue to use this model on future projects.
“Despite Covid-19 and the global pandemic, we were all able to work towards a common goal of getting the units completed on time and under budget.
“The addition of the two new units is a testament to the commitment of all involved and I believe lays the foundation for future projects together.”
David Burt, the Premier, also attended the ceremony.
He said: “This Government is fully committed to our seniors' ongoing health and welfare; and, since taking office we have made changes that have improved their lives.
“Westcott Cottage offers our independent seniors affordable accommodation in an ideal location. It is a wonderful addition to the Ferguson Park community.
“I would like to commend the Bermuda Housing Trust on your commitment to your tenants — our seniors — and your tireless work to provide them with affordable housing.
“On behalf of the Government of Bermuda, thanks and congratulations to the Ministry of Public Works, the Bermuda Housing Trust, all of the donors and contractors and everyone who worked together on the remediation and renovation of Westcott Cottage.”
Mr Barritt thanked the Bermuda Housing Corporation and Keino Furbert-Jacobs, its lead architect and project manager, as well as the Bank of Bermuda Foundation, Axis Capital, the Chubb Charitable Foundation and Belco for “bringing the renovation project to life”.
Vance Campbell, the BHT deputy chairman, Ianthia Simmons-Wade, the Ageing Well Committee chairwoman and Tinée Furbert, who was the St George's South MP in the last Parliament, were at the ceremony.
Claudette Fleming, the executive director of Age Concern, Joy Pimental of the Bank of Bermuda Foundation, Sally Trott of Axis Capital, Natalie Chiaramonte of the Chubb Charitable Foundation and Julian Marsh of Belco also attended alongside Ferguson Park seniors.
Westcott Cottage took the number of BHT housing units at Ferguson Park to 21.
The trust manages 183 units in total for seniors who can live independently across five sites on the island.