|CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS (July 20, 2016) — When a fresh idea hit Ms Ordith O’Loughlin, she called the Nevis Branch of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis where Manager Ms Hyacinth Pemberton informed her that she had not only called the right place, but at the right time as the bank was in the process of disbursing Fresh Start Programme loans to persons with existing small businesses or with ideas for new small businesses.
But what was meant to be a small business to stimulate and challenge the minds and physique of adolescents and young adults has today become an outlet where parents are bringing their young children, 3 to 11 years, who are currently on the long summer school vacation. Some parents find that these types of programmes can help promote play and development within children, similar to watching pretend play videos online.
Welcome to Sugaz Fun World located at Cedar Trees in Charlestown, opposite the Elquemedo T. Willett Cricket Stadium, which opened its doors to the public on December 22 last year. The business is owned by Ms Ordith O’Loughlin a beneficiary of the Fresh Start Programme, a product of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“We were trying to attract unique business ideas and Ms O’Loughlin’s idea was unique and rare to Nevis as this service was not available on Nevis and was in high demand by the adolescents and young adults,” said Ms Hyacinth Pemberton, Manager Nevis Branch of the Development Bank.
“Her proposed location in Cedar Tree was also a catch as the business was located just a few minutes from the Charlestown Secondary School. The Fresh Start Programme was also trying to empower women and Ms O’Loughlin is a single mother who has truly been empowered by her own idea.”
When she went to the Development Bank, Ms O’Loughlin did not have a plan, but with an idea of what she needed and how she needed it used, and the availability of space for the business, she was assisted by Ms Pemberton to write up her proposal which was accepted and funds were made available to her.
“I am saying thanks to everybody who has helped me especially Hyacinth,” said Ms O’Loughlin. “She motivates me a lot. She helped me a lot; she is a very good manager – great. So I can say I am very contented with this place and the children love me a lot and I love them and they are always here, especially on Fridays and Saturdays I usually have them all day, sometimes I have to remind them to go home.”
Some of the first items she purchased included an X Box, PS4, three large monitors, video games consoles, a refrigerator, popcorn machine and hot dog machine and once Sugaz Fun Would opened its doors on December 22, young people in Nevis found a new spot where they met to play games and update on each other. She has also added foosball.
Two unrelated incidents have forced the Sugaz Fun World business to diversify in terms of its scope. First Ms O’Loughlin’s mother died in December and as a result her eleven-year old daughter Persia did not have anyone to stay with when out of school. Her former co-workers also told her that they were having problems with their children when schools are closed.
“I saw it as a great opportunity and during Easter I held a two-week Easter Camp for children at my premises,” said Ms O’Loughlin. “It was very successful and I was very shocked because I was thinking only about ten or so would attend but 50 and more started to come in the week till I asked parents not to bring any more.”
The camp was educational where children got engaged in science puzzles, they did English and Maths, visited historical sites in Nevis and in St. Kitts. She thanked Junior Minister for Social Services the Hon Hazel Brandy-Williams who facilitated their St. Kitts visit.
From that experience, she prepared herself for the longer summer vacation. The camp started on July 8 and will run until September 2. The number of children attending is rising by the day and to accommodate the large numbers she set up a tent on the adjacent plot, but was taken down because her neighbour is doing some renovations. It will be back next week.
She has two persons who are assisting her with engaging the ever energetic kids, and a teacher comes in the afternoons to teach them History, English, Maths and puzzles to enable them play in a school-like atmosphere.
“At every afternoon the kids get a chance to do some outdoor activities at the park,” explained Ms O’Loughlin. “We also have field trips every Friday. Last week we visited the Philatelic Bureau where they were given tips on stamp collection and the Nevis Tourism Authority where government official addressed them.
“This Friday July 22 we plan to visit the Nevis Heritage Village in Fothergills and we will be there for two hours so that children get to know their history. On the remaining Fridays we are also hoping to visit the New River site, and we are arranging for a trip to St. Kitts.”
Ms O’Loughlin was one of the businesspersons who took part in the Business Fair held in May at the D.R. Walwyn Square in Charlestown as part of the 35th Anniversary Celebrations by the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis. A similar fair was held in Basseterre.
“Development Bank is for the people,” said Ms O’Loughlin. “People should encourage young persons to go out and achieve their goal and help themselves to progress more in their country and move their country forward socially and economically. Development Bank works with young people to help them progress and develop their country.”