(from left) Maria Holder Trust Trustee, Michael Russell, Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Care, Bruce Alleyne watch as workers start renovations on the Parkinson Community Centre. (S.Medford/BGIS)????

Residents, community groups and sporting organisations from the Pine and surrounding areas will soon have access to a fully-refurbished and expanded facility in which they can conduct their various community-based activities.

This comes as the Maria Holder Trust, in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Works, begins an extensive renovation project to the Parkinson Community Centre, located at Regent Hill, The Pine, St. Michael.

During a small ceremony yesterday, which was attended by Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett; Chief Community Development Officer, Sandra Greenidge; representatives of the Maria Holder Trust; staff of GH Construction Company Limited; and Project Manager George Holder, members of the community were informed about the project, which will be undertaken at that institution over the next 10 months.

Minister Blackett expressed his gratitude to the Trust for its contribution, which he deems will be beneficial to residents who currently use the premises to conduct sporting, recreational and religious activities.

He noted that activities at community centres had increased significantly over the last four years and gave the assurance that "the Government remains committed to maintaining and enhancing these centres for the benefit of local communities".

In outlining the expected changes, the Community Development Minister explained that the $2.9 million project would include "a side extension to the Community Centre; the provision of new training areas; and the improvement and creation of parking facilities…

"In addition to the recreational activities being done in the Centre, it should be noted that the new facility will also provide accommodation for the Constituency Council of the St. Michael South East Constituency," he stated.

Highlighting the "pivotal role" which the Centres play in the social and economic development of the society, Minister Blackett encouraged other non-governmental organisations, and the wider private sector, to contribute to the upkeep of the 41 existing centres, and possibly assist in the construction of additional ones.

"I wish to suggest that the private sector should seriously consider adopting centres as a part of their contribution to the society in which they operate," the Minister asserted.

Meanwhile, Project Manager, George Holder, informed residents that although a barrier has been put in place to protect persons from being injured during the construction, there would still be access to the playing field.

He also gave the assurance that any issues affecting persons from the surrounding communities would be dealt with once reported.


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