Sunrise centre getting crowded

The client list has more than doubled at the Sunrise Adult Training Centre since the West Bay facility first opened at its current location.

Staff and clients enjoy break time

Staff and clients enjoy break time at the Sunrise Adult Training Centre. Photo: Brent Fuller

Centre Director Roberta Gordon said last week that disabled adults seeking services at Sunrise have gone from 24 in 2002 to 58 this year.

Mrs. Gordon said that of the 58 clients, 18 are working at least part-time, and six others receive care at home. The rest are considered ‘day clients,’ and appear at the centre on Powery Road on a regular basis.

‘We’re finding an increased demand – part of it is that once people come into the programme they kind of never leave,’ Mrs. Gordon said.

Mrs. Gordon said the centre tries not to house more than 30 people at its facility – which is essentially a four-bedroom house with modular units attached – at any given time.

Some clients attend on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule; others go Tuesdays and Thursdays. Those in part-time jobs only stay at the centre part of the time during the day.

But Mrs. Gordon admits it’s still a day-to-day challenge.

‘We have to make better use of our space,’ she said.

The centre’s occupational therapy section has been moved out to the garage area of the building. The computer programme and the arts and crafts programmes are scheduled to be moved into a modular unit on the side of the main building as soon as possible.

The moves will provide more space for the centre’s life-skills programmes.

‘They learn cooking and cleaning, anything that’s a normal function of daily living,’ Mrs. Gordon said.

All the shifting around aside, Mrs. Gordon said Sunrise needs a permanent facility.

‘We greatly need a purpose-built facility… something that’s a little more central would be nice too,’ she said.

According to Premier McKeeva Bush, some money was set aside in this year’s government budget for Sunrise to get ‘a much-needed new permanent home.’

The money was included as part of an $85 million appropriation that included funding for two new public high schools in George Town and Frank Sound.

Funding for training and support services for adults with disabilities was cut by about $90,000 this fiscal year.