Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA)

Although very few records are available, it is known that there was an outreach branch of the YWCA of Great Britain on the island between 1891 and 1921. 


Research at St. Paul’s Anglican Church on Bay Street revealed that YWCA programmes were conducted there during this period.


However it took a few letters to the Editor in the 'Our Readers Say' column of the Barbados Advocate to get the association restarted and in June of 1950, the YWCA of Barbados was reborn.


Saturday, June 10, 1950

Sir, I see so much being done for boys and men, but very little for women and girls. I cannot see why some woman with a pioneering spirit cannot start a drive for a Young Women’s Christian Association. I keep seeing this before my eyes, lighted brightly in the letters flashing their message to you young girls; many poor girls in this town would be very glad to meet and exchange views, and get clean entertainment, and many fine looking young women left as a gem of finest ray, serene, to be kept in the background and without hope of ever advancing. Some resort to degrading morals, having no means nor money and no proper company. More should be done for young women, and many who have mothers whom they esteem, could come forward, and help to elevate women and have the future mothers of Barbados protected. 


Concerned Mother 



Friday, June 16, 1950

Sir, With regards to a letter in the “Advocate” on June 10th I also feel it is the time that Barbados revived the Young Women’s Christian Association after a lapse of about 30 years. Mrs. Fred Goddard and Mrs. Donald Wiles have kindly offered to help, and if other ladies would come forward, a committee would be formed to see what can be done. Captain H. H. Williams from the Y.M.C.A. has very kindly offered to assist us. 


(Mrs.) A. A. Gibbons
Folkstone, St. James - June 13, 1950 



Friday, June 23, 1950

Sir, I am glad to see a response to the appeal for a Y.W.C.A. and hope this urgent need will not hang fire; also I would have felt jubilant to have read of some donation being offered from at home or overseas on behalf of this great movement. Say some great good heart like that of Andrew Carnegie or Mr. Perrin who founded the Franklin Sq, House of Boston, come forward. Hoping also for a large commodious building and not a miniature or paltry looking "Y", and that the committee may be composed of live wire people and not those who are too busy to act.





Article: Thursday, June 29, 1950, p. 5, column 1

YWCA Will Be Revised
With a view to reviving the long defunct Y.W.C.A. in Barbados, a number of Social Workers, at the invitation of Mrs. A.A. Gibbons held a meeting at the Y.M.C.A. on Monday.


At this meeting Mrs. A. A. Gibbons was elected President, Mrs. P. A. Clarke, Treasurer and Mrs. D. H. L. Ward, Secretary.


Others present were: Mrs. Donald Wiles, Mrs. A. W. Scott, Mrs. F. Goddard, Mrs. H. F. K. Greaves, Mrs. H. A. Talma, Mrs. R. S. Taylor, Mrs. F. Bishop, and Mrs. D. Wood. Miss J. Wilkinson was absent. It was agreed that these ladies would form a Committee of Management. Captain H. H. Williams, Secretary of the Y.M.C.A. was also present in an advisory capacity.


Contributions towards this much needed YWCA will be gratefully accepted and can be paid to the Treasurer, Mrs. P. A. Clarke, c/o Cosmopolitan Drug Store or Torrington Hastings.


Anyone desirous of joining the Association can communicate with Mrs. D.H.L. Ward, Secretary.


The YWCA in Barbados' Community

Since then the YWCA has grown to contribute considerably to the Barbadian community, impacting on the lives of both young women and men throughout Barbados.


In 1951, Lady Savage, the wife of the then Governor, opened the first hostel. Accommodation was offered to those from the rural areas of Barbados who came to Bridgetown to work and needed a place to stay. The hostel also provided accommodation for transient guests including many from the other islands who were passing through Barbados on their way to England. It also housed fire victims and evictees.


In 1976, the schools' Traffic Wardens scheme was started. The Government of Barbados assumed responsibility for the scheme in 1986.


In 1980, Mrs. Clarice Herbert, a consultant from the YWCA of USA, started summer camps. 


In 1991, in response to requests from parents and guardians, the camps were extended to all school vacations. These camps continue to the present and offer a varied programme for children aged three to twelve.    


In 1997, the Reading Club was introduced with a programme that offers assistance with reading to children aged five to fifteen. This programme is conducted strictly by volunteers.


Through the years, the YWCA has offered several programmes to the Barbadian public aimed at assisting them in improving their skills. These include cake decorating, upholstery, vegetarian cooking and Early Childhood Education.


Further information on YWCA of Barbados, YWCA Training Centre, Farm Road, Deacons, St. Michael can be sourced at the following website Telephone (246) 425-7308, Fax: (246) 425-6290 or Email: .


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