BVI News

Health minister, Red Cross appeal for help

Director of the BVI Red Cross Helen Frett exchanges words with Minister of Health and Social Development Ronnie Skelton during the event yesterday

There is an appeal for residents to rally behind the British Virgin Islands (BVI) Red Cross, and donate manpower as well as money.

Minister of Health and Social Development Ronnie Skelton, as well as Director of the BVI Red Cross Helen Frett, threw out the appeal yesterday (May 8) as the voluntary organization seeks to expand its humanitarian efforts – including the addition of child sexual prevention education to its programmes.

“Like all service organisations, the BVI Red Cross needs volunteers, money, and resources. I am therefore taking this opportunity to encourage all the residents of these beautiful Virgin Islands – those of you who have some spare time – to donate some of the time to the many worthwhile endeavours of the BVI Red Cross. And, for those of you who may not have extra time but can donate money and other resources, please give generously,” the minister said.

Frett, in the meantime, noted that the BVI Red Cross now has about 60 active volunteers, but it is in need of persons from all kinds of professions.

“That is a challenge that we’re having. We don’t always have persons when we need them… If I had more volunteers with all of these different skills, then we could get the work spread out more easily, and we wouldn’t put too much strain on one person,” she said.

“We need persons with different skills because obviously we have lots of programmes, and so we could use a lot of different skills. We need persons with shop management skills – accountants…we need somebody with a financial background to help us with our financial management.”

Among the initiatives that the BVI Red Cross has been spearheading in the Territory is an annual prostate cancer screening, a men’s health fair, a homecare training programme, training courses, as well as a disaster risk-reduction programme.

“We are starting two new programmes. We are starting a water safety training programme, as well as we’re getting into child sexual prevention education,” Frett added.

She stated that the Red Cross needs funding for the programmes.

Frett said the organization already has a thrift shop that could be used to raise much-needed funds, but there is no one available to man the store located at the organization’s base at John’s Hole, Tortola.

“We think that we can raise more money through the thrift shop because obviously it helps to support some of our programmes and administrative costs, and I think that we could do a lot better once we have a dedicated person to manage the shop,” Frett further told journalists during World Red Cross Day celebrations yesterday, May 8.

During the event, 20 organisations were honoured for their donations to the BVI Red Cross over the years.

Among the honourees were: OneMart, Road Town Wholesale, Berts Garage, the BVI Diabetes Association, Sensus Gym, Ernest ‘Popeye’ Scatliffe, and James Todman Construction.

The BVI Red Cross, which is a branch of the British Red Cross, was started in 1956.

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