Caritas Malta which depends on the help of the Church and people’s generosity, has obtained €2 million from European funds for a project to move its operations from Floriana to a new centre in Hamrun.
Caritas Director, Anthony Gatt, said that if it weren’t for this donation, which represents almost half of the expense, they would not have managed to fulfil the dream of creating this centre which will bring the administration and all the operations together under one roof, except for the residential programme.
Within another two years, all of Caritas’ services except the residential programme will be provided from the Hamrun centre. This was made possible after the Church passed on property to Caritas on a temporary lease which until the 1950s used to be used for social reasons but which had been left in a state of abandon over the last few years.
At the Caritas’ offices in Floriana, an agreement was signed by means of which €2 million from European funds will be dedicated to setting up this Community Centre. The project is in the hands of President Emeritus George Abela, who said that the centre will cost €4.5 million. He explained that Caritas does not only offer services related to drug abuse but also to help marginated and vulnerable people including those at risk of poverty, victims of usury and solitude, and the elderly.
“Even this building is being built for this reason to cope with the needs of society which is changing in our country as well. Even its social fibre is changing, so each floor will deal with these needs.”
Caritas is in also touch with the realities of marital difficulties. Ronnie Frendo has been separated for five years and said that he ended up withdrawn because of this. He said that his relatives suggested that he attend Caritas meetings organised for people who are going through a separation.
“There are a lot of people who tell you that they do not have money for counselling so that they can start to feel better. This should not pose a problem because Caritas is a place where many services are given for free. You come here, and they direct you and you can start to receive counselling even if you need a lot like I did.”
The Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds, Aaron Farrugia, said that the community centre project will touch individuals and families who, if they are not helped, would have a very different future. He said that around 600 people are expected to make use of this centre as soon as it opens its doors in two years’ time.