Community Outreach and Impact Caravan relaunched in Pinto

Wednesday February 12, 2020 --- An estimated three hundred plus residents of Pinto Road, Arima and immediate environs were able on Wednesday last, to avail themselves of several grants and services offered by the Government as the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services re-launched its Community Outreach and Impact Caravan, which was held at the Pinto Community Centre.

Minister of Social Development and Family Services, The Honourable Camille Robinson Regis addressed the residents, stating that the caravan was aimed at bringing Government Services closer to those who are unable to commute to government offices and encouraged all to participate fully. She emphasised that the caravan, which is part of the implementation process for the National Social Mitigation Plan, had begun as early as May 2019 under former Minster of Social Development and Family Services, Cherrie-Ann Crichlow-Cockburn. Phase 1 of the caravan saw the Ministry's Executive and staff meeting with various stakeholders inclusive of the representatives of village councils, local entrepreneurs, Councillors and Aldermen, residents, training institutions, as well as, the social welfare staff of each community, so that the caravan's response would be relevant and impactful. Minister Robinson-Regis noted that this was done, "to ensure that the Ministry's efforts to build resilience and sustainability in each community were directly linked to the needs and interests of citizens and also, in keeping with its socio-economic potential for overall productivity and wealth generation in Trinidad and Tobago."

From as early as 8:30 a.m, persons who were desirous of gaining access to a multiplicity of social grants and services, made their way to the Pinto Road Community Centre, where they interacted with representatives of Ministries and state agencies, inclusive of the Ministry of Public Utilities, the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission, the Water and Sewerage Authority, the Children's Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, the National Training Agency, the National Commission for Self-Help Limited, as well as, receive testing for blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure from the North Central Regional Health Authority. 

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Jacinta Bailey-Sobers also addressed attendees, reassuring them that the executive is working steadfastly on a number of improvements to the delivery and customer service aspects of the Ministry and encouraging persons to be their brother’s keeper, to foster a strong sense of community.

Wednesday's exercise saw a number of Persons with Disabilities in attendance, in addition to several young women seeking approval for the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services' entrepreneurship grant which is called the Sowing Empowerment Through Entrepreneurship Development (SEED) Programme. Several residents were also able to receive immediate temporary food support following their assessment.

This support brought notable sighs of relief from many, particularly single-parent households. In January 2020, the Minister made a public announcement regarding the distribution of the temporary food cards, stating that the Ministry had taken a decision to provide "prospective beneficiaries of the Food Support Programme with temporary cards for the period preceding final review of their applications," in an effort to get direct help to those in genuine need. To this end, approximately 500 new households will be impacted on a monthly basis.

The Ministry's caravan is expected to roll into Maloney Regional Complex on Friday February 14 and St. Augustine South Regional Complex on Monday February 17, 2020. Persons are reminded to bring one valid form of Trinidad and Tobago identification in order to register at the Caravan.

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