THE Government of Saint Lucia will expand the Ministry of Social Transformation’s Community After School Programme (CASP), via $500,000 in funding, achieved in collaboration with corporate sponsors.
The CASP provides a safe learning environment after school, for children who would otherwise be idle.
The programme experienced financial constraints last year. However, donations from the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) and 1st National Bank have helped government restart and expand the programme.
On Monday, advocates and participants of the programme gathered to celebrate the commencement of a new cycle of the CASP. Musician Ronald “Boo” Hinkson, a long-time champion of the CASP, along with Robert Fevrier of 1st National Bank, and NooraniAzeez, Executive Vice President of the SLHTA, also attended the ceremony and pledged their continued commitment to the success of the programme.
“We are recommencing a programme that targets children coming from the most economically depressed areas of our country,” Minister for Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment, Harold Dalson said. “The CASP has proven to be very successful over the years in providing a safe learning environment after school hours for deserving children who would otherwise be lured into idleness or negativity.”
The Minister indicated that the new cycle will also see an expansion of the CASP from seven to 14 centres in the communities of Faux-a-Chaux, Wilton’s Yard, Ciceron, Monchy, Babonneau, Belair, Jacmel, Millet, Soufriere, Fond St. Jacques, La Maze, Vieux Fort south, Vieux Fort North, and Mon Repos.
Minister Dalson expressed gratitude to the corporate partners who came forward to complement the government’s initiative, and ensure continued service to the youth in vulnerable communities.