The Hughenden Community Centre, located at 9A Jerome Avenue, was packed to capacity on March 3, as residents from communities along Red Hills Road in Kingston, turned out to cheer on their teams participating in the inaugural sports day.
The event, organised by the Social Development Commission (SDC), through funding from the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), is part of a project dubbed: ‘Red Hills Road Comm-Unity Sports Initiative,’ which is aimed at using sports to foster unity among five targeted communities, while breaking down barriers, so that residents can interact freely. The areas are: 100 Lane, Park Lane, Donmair/Common, 85 Red Hills Road, and 60 Whitehall Avenue/Beverleydale.
Yesterday, teams from the communities, once at odds, engaged in friendly competition in football, netball, basketball and cheerleading, while interacting with each other.
Activities got underway with a parade march of teams, including cheerleaders, from Hillside Christian Church, located at 105K Red Hills Road to the community centre. The procession, which was led by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) band, also included personnel of the SDC, the St. Andrew North Police, and the church, who carried banners with the team names and positive messages.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Parish Manager of the SDC, Sandra Goulbourne, said the organisation has been building communities, utilising the mediums of sports, culture, arts and entertainment.
“We are also looking at how to mainstream young people, young men, unattached youths into positive social activities,” she said.
She informed that the SDC will be organising other activities in an effort to maintain the unity among the residents. “We have the 20/20 Cricket Competition coming up, starting in April, and we expect more teams from Red Hills Road to participate,” she said.
Inspector of the St. Andrew North Police Division, Rupert Harper, expressed the hope that the project will help to “reduce the level of strife and conflict and will bring lasting peace and togetherness in the communities”.
“We hope that it will build bridges and it will break down barriers. We hope that it will promote mutual understanding and respect for one another and we will have a cooperative and working relationship from now onwards,” he said.
By E. Hartman Reckord, JIS PRO