Seven years ago, the Community Development Department and the Maria Holder Memorial Trust began discussions regarding the refurbishment of what was once known as the Parkinson Community Centre.

Located at The Pine, St. Michael, the centre was constructed in the 1980s, and was one of the first to be built as part of the housing development programme implemented by Government.

In its earlier days, the community centre was used to facilitate Martial Arts, Steel Pan, Cricket, Football, Netball, Dominoes and Ballroom Dancing, as well as other income-generating activities.

Several groups also utilised the facility, including, but not limited to, Pinelands Promotions, senior citizens community groups, the St. Michael South East Craft Guild, Living Hope Ministries and the Pine Community Church.??On April 17, the building was officially re-opened under its new name, the Parkinson Resource Centre.

Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steven Blackett reported: ???From very early, The Pine showed a strong sense of togetherness and community spirit???many well-known leaders and community practitioners, some of whom will be awarded later this morning, were born and nurtured in this community.???

The idea to refurbish the centre was initiated by one of the trustees and founders of The Maria Holder Memorial Trust, Chesterfield Brewster, when he invited Russell Hopper to the island to assist with the football programme in The Pine.

???During his stint, Mr. Hopper observed the deficiencies in the surface of the playing area, as well as its small size, and wanting to effect change, drew this to the attention of the Trust,??? Mr. Blackett explained.

He continued: ???Discussions started with the Community Development Department in 2007 and after a series of consultations, which involved the people of the area, the design of the building which we re-open today was completed.???

The Parkinson Resource Centre now houses conference rooms; an office for the St. Michael South East Constituency Council; improved facilities for local and educational institutions to conduct training; and the creation of football training facilities for both the Pinelands and Wildey communities.

Additionally, similar to the other 16 resource centres throughout the island, the Parkinson facility was outfitted with 18 new computers, as well as an internet room with 12 computers.

These additions would enable the centre to offer the revised Community Technology Programme, which Mr. Blackett explained ???ensures that the wider Barbadian population is adequately prepared to face the challenges and opportunities presented by the rapid expansion of information technology throughout the world???.

He added that Caribbean and National Vocational Qualification training courses would also be made available to the communities, which can be used to create employment and generate income.??These courses include areas such as Web Page Design, Home E-based Business, Social Media Marketing and Computer Programme Writing.

The Minister thanked the Maria Holder Memorial Trust for its ???substantial investment in the extension and refurbishment of the Parkinson Resource Centre???.??He also noted that the refurbishment of the Centre would not have been possible without the efforts of the Community Development Department and many stalwarts in the community.

Not only were these members of the community commended and awarded by Mr. Blackett for their ???spirit of commitment, volunteerism and selflessness??? but he also acknowledged that their efforts had ???helped to make this Pinelands community the interesting and dynamic place it is???.

Before those in attendance were able to witness the cutting of the ribbon and tour the newly-refurbished centre, the Social Care Minister urged the residents of The Pine to ???make good use of and take special care of this spanking facility and all the opportunities which it affords you???.

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