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The St. Andrew 4-H Parish Advisory Council yesterday (Feb. 21) launched a block drive, through which it hopes to raise $500,000 for the rehabilitation of the Salisbury Plain Training Centre.
Speaking at the launch of the fundraising event held at the 4-H head office in Kingston, patron of the St. Andrew 4-H Clubs and chairman of the Guardsman Group of Companies, Kenny Benjamin, applauded the effort to rehabilitate the centre, which he said, served some 26 communities including, Salisbury Plain, Glengoffe, Above Rocks, Stony Hill, Barnett, Padmore, Golden River, Mahoney, Zion Hill, Golden Spring, Sterling Castle and Lawrence Tavern.
“This block drive,” he noted, “is one of the innovative means of raising funds.and it is of great importance that training centres such as these are encouraged, [in order] to assist in the training of our youth especially in the rural parts so that they can be self sufficient within their own communities.”
“At Salisbury Plains, the training received lasts a lifetime, hence the importance of having this centre refurbished and functional,” he added.
Mr. Benjamin noted that despite financial constraints, the Jamaica 4-H movement had succeeded in carrying out its mandate of positively impacting the lives of young people.
He further commended the organization’s relentless work in improving the lives of young people through its various programme offerings, which include training in areas such as home economics, agriculture, environmental management, tractor operation & maintenance, hospitality management and leadership training and development.
The rehabilitation of the Salisbury Plain facility is estimated at $4 million and Executive Director of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, Lenworth Fulton, is appealing to persons and organizations to support the block drive.
Citing the importance of the 4-H training centres, Mr. Fulton said that the facilities have been serving an array of young people, mentioning that the organization had embarked on a programme specifically geared at reaching the unattached youth.
Surveys, he noted, have shown that an estimated 150,000 unattached young people, age 18 to 21, were either at home or on the streets and “need something to do.” It is in this regard, he pointed out, that the Jamaica 4-H Clubs had taken up the challenge to reach this cross section of young people through its various training centres located island wide.
The Salisbury Plain 4-H Training Centre was built in 1960 and serves over 25 communities as well as 4-H clubs located within surrounding schools. The centre was however significantly damaged during the passage of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
The St. Andrew Parish Advisory Council plans to begin rehabilitating the facility in June of this year. Persons may purchase a block, which ranges from $20 to $50, or a prescribed set of blocks for $9000.
Blocks will be distributed throughout various schools in Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Thomas and will also be available at the 4-H head office located at 95 Old Hope Road in Kingston.