Officials begin long road to new disability centre

| 24/05/2016 | 7 Comments

New Sunrise Facility Steering Group - May 2016(CNS): Following Cabinet’s approval of the case to build a new training facility for adults with disabilities to replace the Sunrise Centre facility, a steering committee has been formed to begin the long process towards making it a reality. Education Minister Tara Rivers said there was a need for a new purpose-built facility because the current one in West Bay could no longer meet the growing demand for services. The first step on what is likely to be a long road will begin with a request for proposals for consultants to make the business case to spend public cash on the project.

“As a government, we have an obligation to ensure persons with disabilities have a quality education in the most appropriate inclusive setting and access to lifelong learning, as mandated by the Cayman Islands Disability Policy 2014-2033,” Rivers said in a release announcing the formation of the committee.

“As a society we are morally obligated to provide as much opportunity as possible for the total inclusion of persons with disabilities, and we hope to partner with the community and the private sector to make this capital project a reality,” she added.

Sunrise is struggling to cope with current numbers but government believes that demand will continue to grow and a facility that can offer more services in a more central location is desperately needed.

“It is evident that there is a genuine need for a purpose-built facility to cater to the needs of the clients of the centre,” the minister said.  “The programme has operated for the past 28 years, with the last 15 years being out of a partially retrofitted duplex. Despite these restrictions and challenges, the clients and staff have done their best to adapt and function in their environment, but the demands for access to the programmes have grown substantially, and the centre cannot operate much longer under current conditions.”

The aim of the new facility will be to help develop independent living skills for the those with disabilities and provide therapeutic and recreational programmes which promote inclusion and participation in meaningful and purposeful activities, the release said.

Although officials said a public-private partnership (PPP) had not been ruled out, the outline business case to justify the use of public funds is expected to review the cost, available options for a more centralised location, the expansion of programme services, and an increase in client enrolment.

Right now, people can wait as much as three years before getting a place at the centre and Acting Director Kim Voaden said a new properly staffed facility would help them meet current and future demand.

“Based on the current waitlist, anticipated graduation rates from Lighthouse School and present enrolment at the centre, as well as referrals from the community and mainstream education, we anticipate that the centre’s enrollment will grow,” she said.

The committee is made up of representatives from the Ministry of Education, staff and clients of the Sunrise Adult Training Centre, Public Works Department, Planning Department, Lighthouse School and Special Olympics Cayman Islands who will contribute to this phase of the project.

Christen Suckoo, the chief officer in the ministry, said the inclusion of these key stakeholders will ensure that any plans presented to government would not only address the financial commitment required but also the breadth of the project and outreach to the wider community.

Chaired by Shari Smith, a policy advisor from the planning department, the committee members include Acting Director of the Sunrise Adult Training Centre and Secretary to the Committee Kimberly Voaden; Acting Deputy Chief Officer in the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs Tammy Ebanks; Architect in the Public Works Department Colin Lumsden; In-coming Principal of the Lighthouse School Elroy Bryan; Chair of Special Olympics Cayman Islands Adrian Lynch; Charles Brown, Facilities Manager in the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs; Tommy Ebanks, Family Representative from the Sunrise Adult Training Centre Quatro Hatch; Client Representative from the Sunrise Adult Training Centre Justin Wright; and community representative Kenneth Ebanks.

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Comments (7)

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  1. .London Bridge says:

    Building more space for the disabled is a noble cause donot criticise everything, if you do not like least give credit where it is due. At the same time It does look like the PPM is trying to leave a big dent in the public purse in 2017 to criple the CDP as the.PPM will be ousted on May 29, 2017, we can’t take another 4 years of the PPM.

  2. Anonymous says:

    doesn’t gov’t already have drawings for a new SATC?

    • Anonymous says:

      Was there not an agreement with Dart to build a new Sunrise Center as part of the agreement with Mac for the new road and closing of West Bay Road

  3. Sharkey says:

    Ms Rivers, the old Sun Rise faculty has turned out some very good results for the past of our disability kids , it doesn’t require a new building to help these disability kids , it takes leadership , responsibility, and dedication, and love for these special children.
    But I guess in your view it takes millions of dollars and a new building to show what you have done for these very special kids, very sad .

  4. Anonymous says:

    you ain’t got the money for this….or new police stations…or new courts….or mental health facilities…..etc

    • Anonymous says:

      She has been in office for over 3 years and now the count down time is coming to KICK HER OUT OFFICE, so she is trying to push things through…not today bobo…you will not be getting back into office Tara!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        So true and don’t forget majority of students there related to same big family, a major voting block she’d like to have again, if she does run in 2017. Is she running though? Hope not

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