Fonclaire gets Lotto booth
After 55 years of struggle, NLCB Fonclaire Steel Orchestra has launched a National Lotteries Control Board's Lotto Booth and gift shop at its Dottin Street, San Fernando. In delivering the feature address last week, managing director Darren Sheppard said Fonclaire has always been the engine that drives the community, and now they want to make it the economic engine, hence the reason for venturing into this business activity. "Everything we do and everything we've done so far benefits the members of the community, benefits the membership of the band, and that is demonstrated by the folks that we hired to help us run this facility. "This is the beginning of the journey. As our strategic plan outlines we have a number of activities. Some people think that I am a big thinker but you have to think big. Aim for the sky and if you reach on the rooftop, you off the ground still," Sheppard said. Sheppard said going forward, the band aims to open a car wash, a bar and to acquire every empty piece of available property on Dottin Street as part of its expansionary plan. The Lotto booth is anticipated to serve two purposes - expand the footprint of the NLCB throughout the country and to provide an alternative income stream to Fonclaire Inc. to assist in offsetting annual recurrent expenses and funding new project development intended to benefit the youths of the area. In 2019 Fonclaire was incorporated as a non-government organisation. A year later, the band registered a business entity, Fonclaire Enterprises Limited. Self-sufficiency NLCB's marketing and public relations officer, Susan Worrell, applauded Fonclaire for acting on advice to seek out self-sufficiency. She also encouraged the band to keep striving to be more and to be an example for other steel bands in Trinidad and Tobago. San Fernando mayor Junia Regrella also expressed that Fonclaire's model is one other bands can follow. Recounting that he applied for a Lotto outlet on behalf of his band CAL Skiffle in 2003 but was turned down due to a number of outlets already in existence on Coffee Street, San Fernando, Regrello said: "I would suggest that every steel band should have a Lotto outlet because that's how you empower the steel bands, and you create sustainability." Bonn, Donstan. "Fonclaire gets Lotto booth." Daily Express, Wednesday, March 10, 2021, p. 10.