The Diocese of Jamaica and The Cayman Islands is appealing for donations after a boys’ home that it ran for more than fifty years was completely destroyed by a fire. The cause of the blaze, at the Clifton Boy’s Home, in Westmoreland, is unknown. Immediately after the fire, last month, the 29 residents of the Home were housed in temporary accommodation at the nearby St. John’s Church, where they worship regularly.
The Clifton Boys’ Home, which began operation in 1960, is one of three Children’s Homes managed by the Anglican Church in Jamaica. The Home houses boys up to 18 years old, from various parishes across the island, who are either orphans, or who have no one to care for them.
The Chairman of the Home, the Revd Canon the Hon. Hartley Perrin, described the blaze as “disastrous” - resulting in the total loss of the wooden structure and its contents: “Tears were seen on the faces of many who watched helplessly as the fire raged, consuming what had become a landmark and a place of refuge for so many for so long. An era had come to a tragic and sudden end.“
Carmen Bromley, General Secretary of the Jamaica Church Missionary Society explained why the Home is so important for the island: “We provide love, care and protection for the boys. Many whom have left the Home are now holding their own not only here in Jamaica but in the Caribbean and other parts of the world. We ensure that they are provided with a sound education to equip them to become useful citizens. The boys are all attending Primary and High Schools, and are said to be doing very well in their respective schools.”
Reflecting on what the Home offers, Revd Perrin described it as an institution “that seeks to provide an environment of security, emotional stability and spiritual development and growth.......the home has caught the attention of persons and institutions both locally and internationally who have given support and resources that have resulted in the home becoming, perhaps the best of its kind in Jamaica in terms of the warmth and hospitality which it afforded.”
He said there was a consensus around not separating the boys from the schools they currently attend and from the environment and friends they have made: “So it is the hope that the process of rebuilding and reconstruction will commence as soon as possible so that normality can again be realised.”
Given that everything was destroyed in the fire, the boys have been given donations of essential items such as school uniforms: “We are heartened by the support which we have received from the leadership and members of the Anglican Church, as well as the wider community. We also welcome the assistance of the Child Development Agency (CDA) under whose jurisdiction we operate, and which has been collaborating with us to meet the immediate needs of the boys.”
Donors are being invited to make contributions to The Clifton Boy’s Home Rebuilding Fund, Account number 611098561. A Foreign Currency Account number 614525185 has also been established to facilitate donors across the Diaspora.