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Pictured with Hon. Tara Rivers (centre), Minister of Education, Employment & Gender Affairs and Chief Officer for her Ministry Mr. Christen Suckoo (centre left) are the members of the New Sunrise Adult Training Facility Steering Committee.  The members are (L-R) Acting Director of the Sunrise Adult Training Centre and Secretary to the Committee Mrs. Kimberly Voaden, Acting Deputy Chief Officer in the Ministry of Education, Employment & Gender Affairs Ms. Tammy Ebanks, Architect in the Public Works Department Mr. Colin Lumsden, In-coming Principal of the Lighthouse School Mr. Elroy Bryan, Chair of Special Olympics Cayman Islands Mr. Adrian Lynch, Senior Policy Advisor & Manager – Inclusion and Chair to the Committee Ms. Shari Smith, Planning Assistant (Policy) from the Department of Planning Mr. Charles Brown, Facilities Manager in the Ministry of Education, Employment & Gender Affairs Mr. Tommy Ebanks, Family Representative from the Sunrise Adult Training Centre Mr. Quatro Hatch and Client Representative from the Sunrise Adult Training Centre Mr. Justin Wright.  Missing from the picture is Community Representative Mr. Kenneth Ebanks.

Published 20th May 2016, 3:20pm

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands – A committee has been formed by the Ministry of Education, Employment & Gender Affairs to steer the development of the Outline Business Case (OBC) to review viable options for a new Sunrise Adult Training Facility. The ultimate goal of this project would be to provide a purpose-built Centre of Excellence in the training of adults with disabilities within the Cayman Islands. Such a facility would support and develop independent living skills for the clients; provide therapeutic and recreational programmes which promote inclusion and participation in meaningful and purposeful activities; and enhance and develop social and interpersonal skills which will facilitate a higher degree of successful participation and inclusion in the community.

On March 1, 2016, the Strategic Outline Case for the new facility was approved by Cabinet and permission was given to proceed with developing an Outline Business Case (OBC). A Request for Proposals (RFP) has gone out to begin the tendering process for consultancy services to assist with the development of the OBC. The OBC is expected to review the cost implications of available options for a facility in a more centralized location, the expansion of programme services, and increase in client enrolment. Currently, there is an estimated waitlist of two to three years for potential client enrolment into the programme at the Sunrise Centre due to its current location and facility size. Options for public-private partnerships and other ways for the wider community to contribute to the project will also be explored.

“The establishment of the Steering Committee is a significant step in this project which has been needed for quite some time. It is evident that there is a genuine need for a purpose built facility to cater to the needs of the clients of the centre,” said Hon. Tara Rivers, Minister of Education. “The programme has operated for the past 28 years with the last 15 years being out of a partially retrofitted duplex. Despite these restrictions and challenges, the clients and staff have done their best to adapt and function in their environment, but the demands for access to the programmes have grown substantially, and the Centre cannot operate much longer under current conditions.”

Minister Rivers further stated, “As a government, we have an obligation to ‘ensure persons with disabilities have a quality education in the most appropriate inclusive setting and access to lifelong learning’ as mandated by the Cayman Islands Disability Policy 2014-2033. More importantly, as a society we are morally obligated to provide as much opportunity as possible for the total inclusion of persons with disabilities, and we hope to partner with the community and the private sector to make this capital project a reality.”

The Sunrise Centre’s Acting Director Kim Voaden says the management and staff are excited about the prospect of a new building that will meet the increasing needs of the Centre, and offer a greater variety of services to its clients. “Based on the current waitlist, anticipated graduation rates from Lighthouse School and present enrolment at the Centre, as well as referrals from the community and mainstream education, we anticipate that the Centre's enrollment will grow, and that potential clients on our waitlist will be served, once suitable facilities and staffing are provided.” explained Mrs. Voaden.

“This is a very important step in the future development of a new facility for the Sunrise Centre. The Outline Business Case will provide the Steering Committee with key financial information which will allow Government to engage in dialogue with potential donors and partners in this project going forward,” stated Chair of the Steering Committee, Shari Smith, Senior Policy Advisor & Manager – Inclusion.

Chief Officer Christen Suckoo also shared, “I am very excited to have on the Committee representatives of key stakeholders which include the Ministry of Education, staff and clients of the Sunrise Adult Training Centre, Public Works Department, Planning Department, Lighthouse School and Special Olympics Cayman Islands who will contribute to this phase of the project. Having such expertise will ensure that when the Ministry presents to the Government the plans for a new facility, there will be a clear understanding of not only the financial commitment required, but the breadth of the project and outreach to the wider community. The Committee is responsible for all the business issues associated with the project, including approving budgetary and procurement strategy, defining and realising benefits and monitoring risks, quality and timeliness.”

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