Constant referrals from the Courts and the Social Development Department is straining the Family Support Network which is said to be stretched to capacity with a continually extending demand for its services.
The announcement was made by President of the Family Support Network (FSN), Judith Charles in the 2015 report that was presented to Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon. Ronnie Skelton last month.
It was announced that the organization, which began as a support mechanism has evolved into a six day a week sanctuary and haven: “We’ve gone from one night a week on the steps of St. George’s Church to feeding over 600 families last year and counselling men, women and children during 681 sessions,” Ms. Charles said.
The FSN President explained that the challenges include a drastic increase in the number of people being referred for counselling by the government’s Social Development Department and the courts, without any formal agreement and without any way of recouping costs.
Ms. Charles also noted that the number of persons coming to FSN for food has increased again this year. She explained that while the organization continues to receive great assistance from many individuals, churches, charter yacht companies, a restaurant/bakery, a fruit and vegetable supplier, other NGOs and organizations, it remains a struggle to keep the pantry stocked.
“Funding is a constant struggle…We are always grateful for monetary donations, because of course we pay all the normal expenses of a for-profit business and our expenses go up every year along with everyone else’s,” the President said.
Through it all, Ms. Charles stated that she is grateful to have been involved for some 11 years with an organization that grows from strength to strength and continues to serve the public in meaningful ways.