JIS News

Young people in Falmouth are being equipped with skills in masonry, carpentry and historic preservation, to contribute to the restoration of historic buildings in the town.
The training is being conducted by the HEART Trust/NTA as part of the Falmouth Restoration Project, which is being undertaken by Falmouth Heritage Renewal (FHR). The Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund has provided $6 million towards the training and restoration project.
“What we are doing here is trying to train people for jobs and trying to create an atmosphere in the town where we can have heritage tourism, which is the basis of a sustainable economy, which will be providing jobs and economic growth for this area and for Jamaica out in the 21st Century,” said President of the FHR, Christopher Ohrstrom, on a recent media tour of restored historic buildings in Falmouth.
Chief Executive Officer of the CHASE Fund, Billy Heaven, said that “while we at CHASE are delighted at the opportunity to have contributed to this project and are extremely pleased with the outputs. Our presence here today is not so much to showcase our involvement in this effort. More so, we are here to encourage and assist the FHR in drawing attention to and garnering further support for its very important work.”
To date, he said, CHASE had funded a total of 12 projects to the tune of $50 million to restore historic buildings across Jamaica. Some of these are Devon House, Ward Theatre, Liberty Hall and Mico Teachers’ College in Kingston; Mannings High School in Westmoreland; Hampton High School in St. Elizabeth and Blenheim House in Hanover.
“We see the restoration and preservation of these buildings as very important to our history and our culture, hence our commitment,” Mr. Heaven said.
Meanwhile, trainee Calvin Hall said that the skills training programme, has “changed my life forever as it opened windows of opportunities and broadened my knowledge.” He added that he was given the opportunity to benefit from the expertise of masons at the Virginia Lime Works in the United States.
“It also gave me the opportunity to study ancient construction, the use of lime putty and bricks in the restoration of heritage buildings,” he said.
Christine Minto, the only female trainee, told JIS News that she is proud to be a part of the project. “I do carpentry here and I get on the machine just as how any of the men here would,” she said, noting that her dream is to become a trainer one day and help other young persons to realize their dreams.
FHR was founded in the year 2001 and works in partnership with the Falmouth Restoration Company, a non-profit charity with a mission to preserve the historic integrity of Falmouth.
The buildings that have been restored include the old Masonic Lodge, located at 9 Market Street in the town, which was built in 1798; a 200-year-old fence located at 21 Duke Street; historic dwelling house at 30 Duke Street, 1 Trelawny Street and at 9 King Street.
All these restored buildings are expected to form part of the Falmouth historic district, which will be a focal point for visitors to the town.

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