WindReach keen to reopen after $25,000 donation

  • WindReach in Warwick (File photograph)

    WindReach in Warwick (File photograph)

A charity forced to put its services to the special needs community on hold is now looking at ways to reopen safely.

WindReach, based in Warwick, had to wrap up its operations and lay off most of its staff because of Covid-19, starting May 1.

Stewart Ritchie, the chairman of the WindReach board, said: “Right now we’re exploring what we can do, what approvals do we need from the Government, and can we bring staff back safely with the right funding.”

Mr Ritchie was speaking this week as the charity celebrated a three-year donation from the insurance firm Aspen.

Aspen last month awarded WindReach $25,000 for 2020 — with matching funding pledged for next year and 2022.

Mr Ritchie called it “significant and generous” at a time when charities face hardship garnering financial support.

He added: “There’s an opportunity for us, now that we have been given good support by our donor community and people like Aspen.

“I’m excited we can be part of the solution as Bermuda opens up again.”

Mr Ritchie said one of the programmes the group was keen to reopen was its adult day programme, dealing with people coping with dementia.

“A lot of our services are hands-on, but we think there’s a need,” he said.

“We’re going to take a phased approach and start looking at what we can do now.”

Mr Ritchie called Aspen’s multiyear commitment “tremendous”.

“It allows us to plan with greater certainty over our cash flows,” he added.

Most of WindReach’s eight staff were made redundant or put on furlough during the height of the coronavirus restrictions.

He said the layoffs “made sense, rather than dwindling our reserves of funds”.

Some traditional donors had opted to move their grants over to communal funds such as the Third Sector Co-ordinated Crisis Response Effort, focused on essentials such as emergency accommodation and providing meals.

Mr Ritchie said: “Now we see there’s some way we can go back to some kind of new norm.”

Tammalita Joseph, the fund development manager at WindReach, said the charity had been serving about 200 people a week before the pandemic hit.

Ms Joseph added: “Participants include those with physical and intellectual disabilities as well as those living with mental health challenges and dementia.

“Aspen has been a keen supporter of our programmes and services for many years and we were delighted to receive news of their present and future year commitment.”

The partnership comes with Aspen staff offering to volunteer.

Adam Barboza, Aspen’s director of corporate social responsibility, said the company core values included “doing good by doing well”.

Mr Barboza said: “By supporting our third-sector partners, we assist in building better communities together.

“WindReach exemplifies the type of community investment Aspen Bermuda Limited aspires to partner with to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people on our beautiful Island.

“Their work with people of all abilities is inspirational and Aspen is proud to continue to be a part of those programmes.”

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Published Jun 3, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jun 3, 2020 at 7:57 am)

WindReach keen to reopen after $25,000 donation

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