A catalyst for change in Bucknor

Monday, June 16, 2014    

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May Pen, Clarendon — More than 1,150 residents in Bucknor, central Clarendon are beneficiaries of a community centre, thanks to the Jamaica Social Investment Fund’s (JSIF) Inner-City Basic Services Project (ICBSP).

 According to a news release from JSIF, the World Bank-funded ICBSP seeks to provide basic services in 12 targeted communities in Kingston, St Catherine, Clarendon and St James.

 Andrew Neita, general manager of JSIF’s infrastructure and civil works unit told the audience at the handing over ceremony that “the construction of the community centre forms part of the strategy of creating spaces that will facilitate the implementation of social programmes to assist in improving access to educational activities, recreation, skills development and training”.

Gary Blair, an administrator in Bucknor, said “the project has impacted the community in a very good way because now persons (can) use the centre for various activities … there is the football field the multi-purpose court and the seating hall”.

“(The project) has done a whole lot. It has brought a different kind of attention to the community because it was once plagued with criminals, but now everybody and other communities look at Bucknor, and say ‘we want to be like that’ and ‘we want to have those things in our communities’ and they have started to form benevolent societies and now they are writing proposals to get some of the things we have here,” Blair continued.

The project provided employment on a rotational basis for about 300 people, including labourers, carpenters, masons, plumbers, electricians, tilers, welders and  painters.

Neita said the centre will be a place of enterprise development offering various products and services.

“This range will encompass women’s handbags, swimsuits, fish and aquarium; skills training in a number of areas in partnership with HEART Trust/NTA; a document centre and library,” he said. 

The ICBSP has been working in Bucknor for seven years. It has “engaged community members in a number of interventions” including alternative livelihoods and skills training, mediation training, youth education and recreation, as well as a beautification, the news release said.

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