A Year of Significant Growth
The year 2013 continued to deliver significant growth for BARP, as the organisation strengthened those programs that were successful and embarked on new and challenging areas intended to improve the quality of life of our members.
Our membership crested 40,000 and continues to expand as Barbados contends with a spurt in the growth of the 50plus.
We have conquered our old IT demons and have embarked on a significant upgrade of our systems to better facilitate service to our members and integrate with the many existing and new partners.
The Golden Health, medical insurance continues to be a challenge because of the paucity of numbers and the bad plan experience. Nonetheless, in partnership with the Insurance providers (ICBL) we are constantly exploring ways to make the plan more viable, as we consider this service critical to eligible members.
While a major thrust in our programs were aimed at the reduction of the cost of living to our members. Through discounts from various merchants and other service providers, We have recognized that a major cost to our demographic is medical cost and while we get significant discounts from our health suppliers it is imperative that we embark on a preventative program to lessen our dependence on doctors, medicine and other ancillary services.
We have therefore embarked on a major initiative “BARP on the Move” to encourage healthy lifestyles and “Active Aging” amongst members.
By forming partnerships with the Diabetes Foundation, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Chronic Disease Research Center and the National Committee on Aging and our own “Just A Pinch “program, we have started to promote health education workshops and support for those organisations that embark on physical training for the 50 plus.
The present deteriorating economic circumstances which our members, especially pensioners currently contend with is by all accounts expected to extend into the foreseeable future.
Our Personal Action Fund which is intended to alleviate some of the hardship which may be experienced by members who have become destitute is under severe pressure as our main fund raiser for this activity has not yet received Government approval after two years of submissions.
We are therefore asking each member of BARP to make a contribution to this fund for the year 2014 – 2015 to assist fellow members who are in need.
Two years ago BARP made the decision to hire professional staff to manage the day to day operation of the organisation. This has worked well as the operation has become more sophisticated, technically complex and demanding in the delivery of excellent service to our customers.
But BARP is still very much a volunteer organisation with all its many committees being run by Volunteers who give of their time and knowledge to carry forward the important work of the organisation.
However there is a constant need to replenish the various committees as persons retire for various reasons. We welcome new volunteers and would love to see an expansion in our volunteer pool.
Thanks to our outstanding staff for their dedication and hard work which has facilitated BARP’s rapid growth and much improved service levels. Special congratulations to our many volunteers for their commitment to the members of BARP and the success of the organisation.
We at BARP look forward to an exciting 2014-2015, as we unfold new opportunities for the benefit of our members.