Apart from drafting the National Wellness Policy, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government in the Botanical Gardens in St. George’s has secured US$630, 000.00 in funding from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) under the “Health Centre Strengthening Project” to support efforts to restore the Carlton Home.
Permanent Secretary with responsibility for Wellness and Religious Affairs Kevin Andall made the announcement as he addressed last week Thursday’s launch of the Grenada Cooperative Bank Ltd. ‘Pump it Up’ family fun walk at the Coyaba Beach Resort.
PS Andall said the first phase of the Carlton Home restoration includes architectural design work, which is earmarked to commence this year and run into the first quarter of 2024, after which the second phase will be to assess the scope of work to be done and the cost to rebuild the treatment facility.
Government is looking at establishing a permanent environment for the rehabilitation of persons struggling with substance abuse, amidst alarming statistics from the Drug Control Secretariat showing rapid increases in the consumption of alcohol among young people, and women, in addition to the use of marijuana, and other illegal drugs among the youth.
According to PS Andall, the US$630,000.00 obtained from CDB will go towards the expanding intervention programmes at the Carlton Home to reflect holistic wellness rather than just treating substance abuse.
“We are not only looking to treat substance abuse but other emotional and mental health services can be offered in that centre. As a matter of fact, we are doing preliminary work regarding the site because the old site is really not suitable for a centre like that, so we are looking for lands in St Andrew at the Mirabeau area and some other places where the Wellness Centre would be in an environment that facilitates recuperation,” he said.
Additionally, PS Andall said the Ministry of Health intends to establish other health and wellness centres throughout the tri-island state and is expected to hold public consultations with key stakeholders in the mental health field for advice on what should be made available at the centres.
He disclosed that the new health and wellness centres will work hand-in- hand with the existing Mt. Gay Psychiatric Hospital to treat minor mental health conditions, and there will also be an initiative to help remove the stigma attached to that facility.
The Ministry has also embarked on a wellness public awareness campaign to include ‘Grenada Shifts’, which promotes healthy living standards and wellness through food and nutrition security, meditation, and exercise.
The Ministry has also started designating every Wednesday as ‘Stress break Wednesday’ to encourage its workers to take a break and relax.
PS Andall is also encouraging the private sector to do the same by allowing workers to relax for at least 10 minutes every day from their busy schedules.
Carlton Home which was the country’s lone treatment facility, and once stood at Parade in St. George, was first destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and what remained was gutted by a fire in February 2006.
Over the years, the Grenada Cooperative Bank Limited (GCBL) has been a major driving force behind raising funds to rebuild the facility.
In 2017, the Bank set out to raise half a million dollars in five (5) years for the Carlton Home restoration as part of its healthier lifestyles programme, however, that goal was offset by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bank announced in 2021 that it had raised $155, 000.00 out of the targeted amount.
According to Managing Director of GCBL, Larry Lawrence, there will be a 2-year extension of its charitable efforts after a 3-year hiatus.
“All collections from the sale of packages will be deposited directly towards the re-establishment of services at the Carlton Home. When we started in 2017, our goal was to raise $500,000 in 5 years. Unfortunately, from 2020 to 2022, we were impacted by Covid-19, and as a result, we were not able to hold the event. To date, we have raised about $350,000.00, and intend to extend our efforts by a commensurate 2 years, which will be 2023 and 2024, to facilitate the pursuit of this initiative,” said Lawrence at the ceremony.
Local companies such as Guardian General Insurance (OECS) Ltd., Jonas Browne & Hubbard Ltd, and FLOW have been on board from the outset of the project.
These companies along with the Antillean Group have pledged their support to the initiative by each donating cheques worth $15,000.
Co-op bank had previously committed to increasing the amount for each registered participant for its fundraising walk from $1.00 to $1.50 per mile, in addition to the bank’s own contribution.
Waggy T Rentals and Body Image have also pledged their support to ensure that the Carlton Home is rebuilt.
The return of the fundraising ‘Pump It Up’ family fun walk will begin in Carriacou, from Harvey Vale playing field to the Hillsborough playing field on Sunday, March 26 and in Grenada on Sunday, April 23 from the Morne Rouge playing field to the Grenada National Cricket Stadium.