Clifton boys are home at lastSaturday, October 31, 2020
Almost four years after Clifton Boys' Home in Darliston, Westmoreland, was destroyed by fire in January 2017, the boys are back and settling into the newly completed structure on the site of the former home.
“We just get back our joy,” one delighted youngster said as the boys moved into the modern, spacious building on October 17 and eagerly explored the facilities.
Another excited boy told the superintendent of the home, Irene McDonald, “Mama, you kept your promise; you moved us into a hotel.”
The new building, designed by architect Ray McIntryre, whose family was among the founders of the home in 1961, is a huge contrast to the cramped quarters in the neighbouring district of Caledonia where the Assemblies of Holiness Church had kindly offered them accommodation since the fire.
“It's hard to explain what we endured for more than three years; and the joy, comfort and satisfaction that I am now feeling, especially when I see the boys playing outside in the open space. I waited on the Lord, and He granted my prayer,” an emotional McDonald said.
The Rt Rev Leon Golding, bishop of Montego Bay, who blessed the building, said: “This is a happy day. We have accomplished our mission; and we look forward to continued public support for our effort to complete landscaping and external works.”
The 4,000 square-foot building has dormitories on two floors to accommodate a total of 40 boys — up from the previous capacity of 30. However, in order to comply with COVID-19 protocols, the total number of occupants is now limited to 21. Other features include a sick bay, a multi-purpose room which will also serve as a homework centre; a common lounge area; as well as a modern kitchen, laundry, and storeroom.
Chairman of the home, Rev Canon Hartley Perrin, said: “We feel a tremendous sense of elation and joy that finally, after so much work and moments of anxiety, we have seen the fruits of our labour and the goodness of God. We are deeply appreciative of everyone who has made this possible with large or small contributions.”
The management of the home is now seeking assistance to install a fixed phone line and Internet service, as well as to acquire laptops and tablets to equip the boys for online schooling.
The home was one of the beneficiaries of the proceeds from this year's Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run.
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