Hundreds benefit from JWN Foundation’s social outreach in St Bess

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The three hundred and seventy staff affected by the closure of the Appleton Estate Factory benefited from a $10-million J Wray & Nephew (JWN) Foundation social outreach intervention last Thursday.

It was the latest initiative in a series of interventions that the foundations’ parent company pledged in support of staff arising from the closure of the Appleton Sugar Factory.

J Wray & Nephew Limited, in an unprecedented move, announced that it would spend US$2 million (J$500 million) over the next three years to support the team members and communities impacted by the factory’s closure.

This outreach activity follows the distribution of 1,000 care packages to at-risk groups by JWN Foundation in July 2020. The social outreach activity saw affected staff being provided with vouchers for back-to-school medicals from doctors in St Elizabeth, birth certificates from the Registrar General’s Department and Jamaican passports from the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA). These vouchers will allow for individuals to access these services in a responsible way and in compliance with the COVID-19 directives from the Ministry of Health & Wellness.

In addition to the vouchers, individuals benefited from financial management & retirement planning consultations by JMMB Group, Sagicor, Jamaica National, Bank of Nova Scotia and the Guardian Group. These companies will also facilitate the opening of bank accounts and introduction to investment opportunities.

Registration opportunities with the Jamaica Drug for the Elderly Programme (JADEP) via the National Health Fund (NHF); the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), PATH and the Overseas Work Programme through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and skills certification via the HEART Trust/NTA were also on offer.

Staff also received protein packs consisting of eggs and assorted canned meats and vegetables, and topping off all the offerings was a focus on self-sufficiency with entrepreneurship support in the form of agricultural start-up kits. These kits contained seeds, fertilisers and other inputs necessary for producing vegetable gardens.

J Wray & Nephew’s Chairman Clement “Jimmy” Lawrence said, “In July, we promised the staff and community that we were not leaving, and we would continue our support during this time of transition. This is one of several interventions over the next three years. We know it is a challenging time for the staff and we are ensuring that this transition is as smooth as possible.”

In reaffirming its commitment to supporting the transition of the affected staff, JWN has indicated that it will continue to work with the unions and community stakeholders to ensure that the interventions over the next three years provide opportunities for employment and transformation.

Following the closure of the Appleton Sugar Factory, JWN announced that it will establish a new Appleton Early Childhood institution; create a scholarship trust to provide financial support for the students of the affected families; partner with the Sydney Pagon High School to create a mini agro-processing facility in the area which will support farmers in processing and preserving new crops.

The agro-processing facility promises to be a game-changer in transitioning the sugar-dependent belt to more economically viable crops as the latter will allow for crops such as breadfruit to be dried, milled, packaged and stored and create gluten-free flour and other value-added products.

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