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July 9, 2014
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Central Village celebrates completion of centre

Some 5,800 residents of Central Village, St Catherine, are now beneficiaries of a completed Central Village multi-purpose building. Requested urgently by the local benevolent society and other community stakeholders, a project which required five years to execute is now seeing its final conclusion.

Scarlette Gillings, managing director of Jamaica Social Investment Fund stated, "difficulties in the contracting and project-implementation process led to extended delays in bringing this project to an end".

It is expected that the facility will assist in fostering social interaction and also enable the offering of a variety of social services.

One specific objective was to accommodate approximately 150 children for after-school programmes. There were also women's groups in the community which needed space to carry out their various businesses.

Financing for the construction was provided by the World Bank, under the Inner City Basic Services Project (ICBSP) of the JSIF, at a total cost of J$121.94 million, of which JSIF cost was $115.84 million.

The community contribution in land and services was $6.1 million, including lands provided by the Jamaica Red Cross, which will also be instrumental in the management the new centre.

The centre will be operated as a shelter by the Red Cross, in the event of national disasters, serving as a secure location for residents of central Village and adjoining areas.

Completed works under the final phase of the project include roofing, rendering of the internal steel-float finish, and erection of a boundary fence, landscaping, installation of doors and windows, countertops and cupboards, painting and electrical installation. External works, included car-parking space, multi-purpose court, and a sewage-treatment facility.

The centre has 'foot-print' of approximately 1,000 square metres, including main hall, covered walkways around the main hall, commercial/workshop spaces, dormitory, office, kitchen and male/female restrooms.

According to Gillings, without suitable integrated community space, it was difficult to build social capital and pursue development projects of any kind.

She stated, "we hope that these grounds will be used to uplift the lives of all residents and that it will become a portal of peace, a shelter for all who seek a better life."

Maintenance training will be provided to a community committee who are expected to ensure the centre operates on a sustainable basis.

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