Caritas Malta obtained €2 million from the European Regional Development Fund with MEUSAC’s assistance to be able to transform an existing building into a community centre for the integration of vulnerable people and to strengthen its non-residential services. Through this project, Caritas will be able to continue to provide its services in a centralised, efficient and effective way. This will strengthen its services for vulnerable people and those at risk of exclusion.
The project, which is still in implementation stage, was presented by the Director of Caritas Anthony Gatt and the project leader, President Emeritus Dr George Abela, in the presence of Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister Carmelo Abela, Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi, Parliamentary Secretary for Sport, Recreation and Voluntary Organisations Clifton Grima, Head of MEUSAC Mandy Falzon, and Director for EU Funds Darren Grasso.
Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister Carmelo Abela said that this Caritas project shows the successful working relationship between government and NGOs in practice. He appealed to non-governmental organisations, as is Caritas, to approach the MEUSAC agency with ideas for projects, because here they will find the assistance of professionals in filling in applications for European funds. Minister Abela noted how with this project, the government wants to convey the message to society at large so that we understand the needs of others and give a second chance to those at risk of social exclusion in particular those who have drug-related problems. He noted that this project is in line with the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development objective to eradicate poverty.
Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi explained that with an investment of €2 million in European funds, Caritas Malta Foundation will continue to improve the current services while introducing new services. He explained that this derelict building will be regenerated so that Caritas may continue addressing the needs of individuals who suffer from some form of abuse or who are at risk of social exclusion. He stated that in this building services will be provided to non-residents in connection with their rehabilitation in the community and which will allow them to find the support they need. Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi concluded by saying that through this project, European funds will be going directly to the people.
It is expected that around 600 vulnerable people will be able to access both services already being offered, as well as new services at this centre.
Parliamentary Secretary Clifton Grima stated that such a project serves as a point of reference for the Maltese society. He stated that Caritas is doing invaluable work as it incorporates the main aim of every voluntary organisation – making that difference in people’s lives. He stated that this project is proving that voluntary work holds a very important place in society and is making a difference in people’s lives.
Caritas Malta Director Anthony Gatt said that, “This centre in the Caritas Malta Community was set up to respond more and better to the demands of the social needs of our country today. This centre will bring together all Caritas outpatient services under one roof, so that the first two levels are dedicated to families in need and individuals with various social problems, receiving help individually or in groups. At this building a team will be based working on prevention, as well as administration, and a hub for volunteers, the centre will have amenities such as a lounge, penthouse and other spaces that can also be used by the community”.
MEUSAC’s Mandy Falzon said that voluntary entities such as Caritas can approach MEUSAC for information and assistance to apply for European funds.