The Pinelands Creative Workshop, registered Charity #212, was formed in February 1978. It represents the cultural aspects of the Pinelands community of Barbados.
The mandate of the organization in the early stages was to utilize the common interest of culture to build morale and empower youth throughout the community. This approach proved to be a successful one, as it served to empower and strengthen the community spirit within the Pinelands Community. The PCW found great success in engaging the community through a series of music, dance, and theatre workshops that involved local members that otherwise did not have an outlet or mode of expression. The PCW created these programs in hopes of eliminating challenges found in communities of low socio-economic status. PCW aimed to re-brand the Pinelands community by providing a number of activities and creative outlets for its residents, building an image of positivity and engagement in the face of adversity.
The nature of the work of the PCW evolved with the demands of other communities throughout Barbados, and by the late 1980s the PCW expanded its engagement with local members by seeking to economically empower disadvantaged persons in neighboring communities. In 1998, the PCW’s Marcus Garvey Resource and Development Centre (MGRDC) was established to provide a wide range of social, educational and technical services to the community, while the Pinelands Enterprise Facilitation Services (PEFS) provided financial assistance to its target group through support for micro-enterprise development. The networking relationships developed by the PCW and its various partners further strengthened this work.
Today, the themes of economic empowerment, cultural consciousness, and community mobilization still form a vital part of the PCW’s work. The scope of the Workshop has expanded to include many more low-income communities, located throughout Barbados, as well as across the Eastern Caribbean.
The PCW is dedicated to maintaining dialogue, especially in terms of poverty, capacity development, economic development, and community integration. The PCW has a long history of being involved with various sectors of society, particularly the cultural, social and economic sector, in the hope of combating poverty and increasing the quality of life for those facing various vulnerabilities.
The PCW has a thirty-seven year old proven record of successful development and implementation of programs within the region. This includes cooperation with various national and regional agencies; development of partnerships with International Development Agencies (IDAs), the private sector and Government, and capacity building activities within the Member States in the field of culture and youth development, micro-enterprise, and employment training. The PCW is seriously concerned with combating poverty and is committed to increasing the quality of life of the poor; both aspects can be remedied by greater involvement of CBOs and NGOs within Barbados and the wider Caribbean.
A snapshot of key successes of PCW
The activities of the PCW are channeled through three (3) main departments – Social, Economic and Cultural. The Social Development activities are coordinated through the Marcus Garvey Resource and Development Centre (MGRDC) and entail a range of activities including several developmental courses. Some areas covered include Personal Development, Social Development, Project Management, Enterprise Development, World of Work Courses, Career and Life Management (CALM) for Secondary Students and Out of School Youth, Remedial Training, ICT and regular academic courses such as Maths and English.
The MGRDC is also the coordinating Centre for our Meals on Wheels Program delivering meals to the elderly, shut-ins and disabled persons; and the St Michael South East Disaster Emergency Centre as a first response unit to the community during periods of disaster. The MGRDC also offers a Summer Development Program “PROMOTING EXCELLENCE” to provide youth of the community with a supportive and safe environment to continue to nurture and advance their artistic, academic, personal, and social development which is often absent from most low-income and vulnerable persons. The Promoting Excellence Program was birthed to give wider appreciation to success and exceptional performance by youth from challenging environs and circumstances.
The most recent addition is the Regional Resource Centre for Women Online Facility (RRCW-OF) which was a major milestone emerging from the Economic Empowerment for Women Program in Barbados and the OECS funded by UN Women and CIDA-CFLI between 2012 and 2013. The RRCW – OF is the online space where female heads of household, engaging or thinking of engaging in business, can gather the necessary tools and resources to realize their ideas as a means of economic sustainability amidst the economic downturn.
The MGRDC as part of the ‘one stop’ support services at the community level, provides easy access to several forms for government agencies and for private academic institutions; assistance with the completion of online applications and intermediary support to persons seeking development assistance or services from various institutions. is provided.
The Economic Program seeks to facilitate administrative and operational costs associated with the running of the two facilities controlled by the PCW. As part of its self-reliance and economic stability strategy, the PCW established a business arm called Pinelands Inc., which oversees the Bicycle Project which engages in the sale of second hand bicycles imported from the USA. Furthermore, paid cultural shows are facilitated under this Head as well as consultancies which the organization undertakes at the local and regional level in various areas spanning social development and planning, project management, micro-credit and urban poverty specialization.
Between 1998 and 2002 the PCW established the Pinelands Enterprise Facilitation Services which serviced micro-credit loans and provided training. Under this umbrella Business Labs were conducted for the OAS in Barbados and the OECS. Although the loans have been discontinued, PCW continues to conduct Business Development training as part of this portfolio.
The Cultural Program of the organization facilitates on-going cultural development and training which is the foundation and hallmark of the organization. This arm of the PCW offers commercial as well as charitable services. In addition, training in offered in theatre, vocals, as well as the management of a very vibrant dance program catering to children from as early as four up to adults. Persons enrolled in the program under culture also have the added advantage of being able to explore various forms of music training.
As part of its mandate the PCW’s Cultural Program has engaged in research and documentation enabling the Organisation to produce the coveted anthology “The Heart of a People – The Landship” published in March 2007 which is now referenced in the CSEC syllabus for Theatre Arts first issued in 2013. Culture as the bedrock of PCW has reinforced its commitment to developing the cultural landscape of Barbados through the Regional Cultural Fusion – the collective of Caribbean grassroots cultural organizations dedicated to the preservation and sharing of its various indigenous art forms.