In an effort to alleviate the “extremely difficult challenges” currently facing many Bermudian families, HSBC Bank Bermuda Ltd. has donated $23,000 to the Family Centre to pay for the purchase and distribution of food vouchers as well as vouchers to cover medicine and utility bills for young men currently involved in the Centre’s Youth Development Zone (YDZ) programme and families who would otherwise have to go without.

In addition to basic supplies, the bank’s donation has paid for Internet access for 17 families over a three-month period, which has given their children the opportunity to benefit from online learning resources, and separately, they have also bought a new laptop for the Centre, to support a staff member working from home.

Dr Sandy De Silva, Director of Services for the Family Centre tells us they seen a significant uptick in people requiring their help as the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic take hold of our community. Even before this happened, many of their clients were struggling financially or living paycheque to paycheque. To make things worse, many have now been laid off from work and almost immediately, they saw urgent needs in the areas of food and student technology for homeschooling.

The current situation is also having a huge impact on the emotional well-being of Family Centre’s clients meaning the financial support from HSBC is even more needed. Dr De Silva notes that without HSBC’s generosity, they likely would not have been able to meet their clients’ needs. The bank and the Family Centre have a history of working together on the Centre’s YDZ programme, and as De Silva tells us, the fact that HSBC is there for them again during a time of great need demonstrates how much they care about our community.

“The Family Centre is an essential service for many in Bermuda, and never more so than now,” says Clesia Pachai, Community Investment Manager at HSBC Bank Bermuda Ltd. “Their work with vulnerable people, especially young adults and children, is a testament to what can be done with the right understanding and support and we are pleased to be in a position to help them and those they serve as they try to navigate the impact of this pandemic.”

In addition to the distribution of essential vouchers, the Family Centre is continuing to provide as many of its services as possible via telephone and online video conferencing. Their counselling team are accepting calls from families in need of support and they are providing a wealth of online resources for families and individuals of all ages to cope with the effects of this pandemic.

They have also arranged a ‘SIP (Shelter in Place) Series’ of online workshops, which provide an opportunity for “learning something new in the comfort of your own home,” such as photography, Yoga and Mindfulness, how to make a traditional codfish breakfast and flower arranging using items from your own garden.

HSBC’s donation to the Family Centre is part of a larger, $180,000 package being contributed to local charities in Bermuda and, explains Pachai, “recognises the increasing pressures currently facing the charitable sector as they work to assist a number of local residents negatively impacted by the global pandemic.”

To find out more about the Family Centre, go to www.tfc.bm.