KINGSTON — The Homestead skills training and recreational programme is expected to be significantly boosted with the recent upgrading and renovation of the community centre,which hosts the activities.
The project was completed at a cost of approximately $44 million, of which $11 million came from the community, including discounted labour, security and electricity.
The scope of the final works undertaken include: construction of a computer laboratory and an office area; rehabilitation of the perimeter fence; rehabilitation of the multi-purpose court and football field; installation of irrigation; and the provision of lighting for the sports field and multi-purpose court.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony Wednesday June 15, Minister of National Security, Senator Hon. Dwight Nelson, said projects like these are intrinsic to the fight against crime and violence.
“I am happy that this centre is now a reality, because the Homestead Community has been in need of assistance for some time now and we, at the Ministry of National Security through the CSJP, are going to make a special effort to address some of the challenges that you face in the community,” he stated.
He also urged the residents to protect the facilities and to make reports, to the relevant authorities, if they witness any vandalism.
Mr. Nelson said the multifaceted project will also ensure that all kinds of sports are played and promoted within the community.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon Olivia Grange, said the project seeks to create opportunities for the residents, including sport, which plays a critical role in their lives.
Ms. Grange, who is also Member of Parliament for the area (Central St. Catherine), said restoration of the centre is critical to the development of the community, and urged the residents to make the best use of the facilities.
Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Jamaica, Ambassador Marco Alemanni, said that this is the 16th project under the Poverty Reduction Programme (PRP II), adding that the facility will provide basic services for learning and play within the community.
Managing Director of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), Scarlette Gillings said that the completion and use of the facilities were in response to the needs of the community.
She said it is expected that programmes, such as computer literacy and remedial classes, will be pursued at the centre to equip youths with the tools to acquire employment and improve their standard of living.
Special Project Coordinator, Citizens Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), Patricia Balls, said CSJP will be providing furniture and equipment, adding that the procurement of computers is already in progress.
The Homestead project is one of 21 community-based infrastructure sub-projects in Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine, Clarendon and St. James, which fall under the Poverty Reduction Programme II.
Rehabilitation works at the centre was undertaken through a partnership between the European Union, the Homestead Citizens for Action, the Daybreak Foundation of Morgan’s Lane, the Government’s poverty reduction project, JSIF and CSJP, among others.
By CHRIS PATTERSON, JIS Reporter