Audrey Jeffers’ House and what it means to Full Bloom
We’re making a big move! If the increased size, more visible location, higher running costs and overall staff requirements were not enough, we’re also taking on the responsibility of occupying a historic building, steeped with legacy, with an absolute mammoth of a name to uphold: Audrey Lane Jeffers.
Full Bloom didn’t acquire this building by chance, and I don't want to play the ‘Destiny’ card, but we’ve quite literally been looking at this location since we began serving coffee in our tiny spot in the Oval. A lot of conversations, networking efforts and relationships were made over the course of 3 years that lead us to this spot, and we are incredibly grateful and proud to be a part of its legacy.
Audrey Jeffers is an icon of social work in Trinidad and Tobago and her list of achievements is incredibly impressive, from being involved in founding the Union of Students of African Descent while studying in London, to starting the West African soldiers' fund, mobilising financial contributions from fellow West Indians to assist soldiers during World War I, she left her mark wherever she went.
She returned to Trinidad in 1920 and ran a junior school in her family home, our new location, Briarend. She then established the Coterie of Social Workers in 1921, which provided free lunches to poor school children, and then led to the first "Breakfast Shed" established in Port of Spain in 1926. The Coterie went on to establish homes for the elderly, the blind, "women in distress" and day nurseries.
In 1936, Jeffers became the first woman elected to the Port of Spain City Council. In 1946, she was appointed to the Legislative Council. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1959. In 1969 she was posthumously awarded the Chaconia Gold Medal for Social Service.
A life like hers deserves every bit of the legacy she left behind. It's our hope that by being in the building that bears her name, we will not only carry on Audrey's legacy, but to continue to lay the foundations of our own.