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Custos of Manchester launches social intervention

Monday, January 13, 2020

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Custos of Manchester Garfield Green has initiated intervention and outreach programmes to help students remain in school, establish a counselling helpline, and to offer help in crime prevention.

Green told the government's information arm, the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) that he wants to ensure that, where possible, resources are pooled for the prevention of social ills in the parish, help in the maintenance of police stations, and to ensure that the education of children is not disrupted due to financial challenges.

He related how his 'Students in School Initiative' was able to help a 13-year-old boy who was out of school for a few months. On receiving the information, his office moved quickly to learn the reasons the child was not attending school and got him placed in a high school in the parish.

“The 'Students in School Initiative' is intended to assist children in whatever way necessary. It might be that they don't have lunch, and there may be transport and uniform issues. We try to meet the needs, so that they get into school and they stay in school,” the custos said.

Part of the programme is to get students more involved in community and civic activities, thereby instilling in them, from an early age, civic pride, and to help lessen the spread of antisocial cultures, said Green.

There is also a counseling helpline to prevent domestic violence and ease the burden for people under stress as well as help those who need mediators to resolve conflicts. Persons needing the service can telephone (876) 579-7112.

“We offer the services through the police, in the schools, and in the communities. If the police have a case working on and they were to see the need for mediation or counselling, then we will provide a mediator or a counsellor to help,” he said.

The custos said that on the first day that the programme was launched and published on social media, a lady from a western parish called, and after nearly two hours of talking through the issues, she disclosed that she had reached a point where her mind was clear.

“There was also a case where someone was in custody, and it was clear that she was suffering from depression. She wouldn't speak, so we got counselling for her, and this turned things around for her drastically. She told me that the day that they counselled her was her best day ever,” Green said.

He gave the assurance that while the outreach programme is managed by the Friends of the Custos, and his office coordinates calls from persons who need the services, only trained professionals handle the cases, and no file is created on the individuals being helped in order to ensure strict confidentiality.