Variety Club Caribbean Barbados Inc. was officially registered under the laws of Barbados on November 25, 1994. Some years earlier, Dr. Richard Ishmael, Michael Pemberton, Cheryl Lady Forde and a few other dedicated founding members worked together to raise the necessary capital to start a Variety chapter. The first major project identified was the need for a five-bed Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to provide intensive focused care to monitor and treat the most serious conditions of children in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.
On Tuesday September 16th, 1997, this vision became a reality Variety – Tent 73 was instrumental in funding the majority of equipment for a new four-bed PICU within the Paediatric Unit of the QEH. The QEH has been equipped to handle emergency admissions for young patients requiring various levels of life support and care for immediate post-operative open heart surgical patients, orthopaedic and neurological patients from Barbados and other Caribbean countries.
The unit has since seen thousands of patients and has been upgraded over the years by Variety and other local organisations. Variety Barbados has pledged its continued assistance to the PICU and by extension the children in Barbados. The volunteers and members of Variety also contribute their time and talents to the children of the PICU. Gold Hearts campaign which runs from February to early March, Variety volunteers as well as local and overseas members can be seen chatting and playing with the children during an annual visit to the unit. The children thoroughly enjoy the visit which usually comes with treats of colouring books, crayons, pencils and soft toys.