- Organisers of the GasPro Street-style Cook-up project is hailing the public/private sector partnership as a success and a model for future collaboration to help transform volatile communities.
- Started in May 2014, organisers say the first Street-style Cook-up held in Parade Gardens in Downtown, Kingston was a success that continues to have an impact on the community.
- On Saturday, November 29, the second staging of the Street-style Cook-up Competition will take place on West Bay Farm Road in the community of Waterhouse in St. Andrew, where Mr. Morgan says the strategy will be to use the competition to have a lasting impact on these residents as well.
Organisers of the GasPro Street-style Cook-up project is hailing the public/private sector partnership as a success and a model for future collaboration to help transform volatile communities.
The project now in its second phase, is designed to connect with vulnerable or at risk communities through a food festival that brings the culinary talents of the residents to the fore, while integrating products and services of stakeholders and partners.
The partnership involves private sector companies, Massy, Gas Products Limited (Gaspro), Project Management Company, Carrington , Direct and the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) through its Community Renewal Programme (CRP), and other private sector sponsors.
Started in May 2014, organisers say the first Street-style Cook-up held in Parade Gardens in Downtown, Kingston was a success that continues to have an impact on the community.
Technical Specialist for socio-economic development with the PIOJ’s CRP, Charmaine Brimm, who was a guest at a recent JIS Think Tank, says the partnership aligns perfectly with the mandate of the CRP.
The CRP is responsible for coordination of the Government’s social intervention programme in 100 of the most volatile and vulnerable communities in Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine, Clarendon, and St. James.
Ms. Brimm says since the first Street-style Cook-up the CRP is now more active with its coordination in the community “to ensure that more of the residents are benefiting from social services”.
“All the 17 entrepreneurs that were a part of the competition have been linked to HEART Trust for certification,” Ms. Brimm notes.
She says the CRP has identified and linked 25 business persons from Parade Gardens with the HEART Trust/NTA to receive training and certification in their particular area of expertise.
Other persons from the community have been linked to agencies such as the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).
“We can speak specifically to one of the participants, Roselyn Dwyer, who is a juice person, who through JBDC they have advanced her, in terms of helping her to develop her logo, doing business cards and just positioning her now to be able to build out her juice business in a more fulsome way,” Ms. Brimm says.
She says these successes align perfectly with the goals of the CRP to see an increase in the capacity and employment for residents in these volatile communities.
Ms. Brimm adds that this should result in more partnerships with the private sector, and create more linkages with other government agencies.
“This is proving to be a best practice… the private sector vision for community development certainly aligns itself with the community renewal programme, which we want to see these communities become sustainable,” Ms. Brimm tells JIS news.
In the meantime, Chief Strategic Planner at Carrington Direct, Carrington Morgan says the partnership with the government through the CRP, has helped to achieve the vision of leaving a major impact on the communities.
“This partnership has been very key to what we’re doing” Mr. Morgan explains.
He adds that,“we recognise the potential in these communities and we recognise the positive and the negatives of these communities and we really want to facilitate a collaborative effort to help them from different angles.”
On Saturday, November 29, the second staging of the Street-style Cook-up Competition will take place on West Bay Farm Road in the community of Waterhouse in St. Andrew, where Mr. Morgan says the strategy will be to use the competition to have a lasting impact on these residents as well.
He tells the JIS that the community was chosen based on several factors such as accessibility, community spirit, and culture as well involvement of agencies such as the Social Development Commission.“We all recognise that a community is a microcosm which cannot be sustained on its own, it has to relate to the outside world,” he says.
Ms. Brimm explains that given that Waterhouse is among its list of 100 most vulnerable communities, the CRP will use this as an opportunity to address employment issues and build the capacity of the community.
“For us it’s about touching that unemployment issue, bringing that rate down, advancing entrepreneurship, and helping the community to make the linkages with the right institutions ,” she elaborates.
Preparation for the competition began in September, with meetings held with the representatives from the community each week to ensure a holistic approach.
Sponsors and partners have also been afforded the opportunity to engage residents and get deeper insight into the community lifeStyle and culture.
“We’ve now brought on the representative from HEART at our stakeholder meeting and the representatives from the Ministry of Health and JBDC, they are all a part of this movement,” Mr. Morgan says.
In addition persons have been provided with information on how to get their food handler’s permit, birth certificates, and Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN).
“So it’s not just a competition, it’s not just an event it is getting into the lifestyle of the community it is getting to understand the community’s wants, needs and the gaps that the community would have and the potential of the community,” Mr. Morgan says.
He adds that “One of the main differences with this type of project is that it’s actually in the streets of the community, it’s a part of the lifestyle of the community, where they live, where they socialize where they consume these products.”
As part of the vision to continue the relationship building in the community Mr. Morgan says a free workshop will be held on December 13 to give the residents a chance to learn how to benefit from services provided by the sponsors.
He says it will also provide an avenue for the winners of the competition to share their story with those in attendance.
“The eight government agencies and the private sector, (will) come in and share a little about their area of expertise and what they are able to offer,” Mr. Morgan informs.
He says the team is looking next at a community in St. Catherine to host the third Street-style Cook-up .The project will impact a number of other communities across the island over the next four years.
“We’re not anymore looking across the fence at the persons in inner-city communities, we’re bringing it right down to where they are with our services, with our certification and with our products,” Mr. Morgan says.