Urban Renewal Re-Launches its Fort Charlotte Centre

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The Fort Charlotte Urban Renewal Programme held a soft re-opening ceremony on Monday, March 17, 2008 at their centre on Musgrove Street and Dunmore Ave, Chippingham. Programme Coordinator, Ella Lewis at left brought remarks. (Photo/Raymond A. Bethel)

By: Llonella Gilbert

NASSAU, Bahamas – The Fort Charlotte Urban Renewal Liveable Neighbourhood Project Centre is re-launching its community’s band as well as its tutoring services and other after-school-activities.

Patricia Walker, an assistant at the Centre said teachers from C.C Sweeting Junior High School and St. John’s College will volunteer as tutors to students who are preparing for BJC and BGCSE examinations.

Ms. Walker explained that the Centre is also trying to organise times in the afternoon when a community pastor will be able to counsel students who need it, while Centre Manager Jeff Brown pointed out that the Centre wanted to start from scratch before re-commenced any initiatives.

During a soft re-opening ceremony at the Centre on Monday, March 17, Mr. Brown explained that over the past two weeks, workers and volunteers attached to the Urban Renewal Liveable Neighbourhood project went to homes in the Fort Charlotte area to talk with parents who filled out relevant forms.

Mr. Brown said the objective of meeting with parents was to find out what each child would need to be able to attend activities planned for the Centre.

“Kids in each household are different,” he explained. “We found out that some are fatherless, some are motherless, some live with their grandparents and we found out that conditions in some homes are not adequate.

“All of these things have an affect on the kids, and to make this area liveable or the community liveable, we have to deal with people who live in the area especially kids, because they are going affect us know or later.”

Mr. Brown added that in this instance, Centre workers also want to ensure the children had the basic requirements necessary for them to feel supported and comfortable to attend the activities.

He also noted that cleanliness was a part of these requirements.

“We want to make sure that cleanliness starts here,” the Centre Manager said.

Therefore, the Centre will provide the basics including soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, and clothing – anything that would make sure the children are not ashamed.

“I experienced that before when I was a teacher; most of the kids never participated in anything because they were not supported – they did not have a father, they did not have a mother – they did not have anybody to bring the resources they need to come to these programmes.”

Mr. Brown said he wanted the programme to last a lifetime and that would happen with the help of the Fort Charlotte Steering Committee.

Mrs. Alexandra Archer, a member of the Steering Committee reiterated the sentiments of the Centre Manager, stressing that no one in the community will be turned away.

She pointed out meantime that the goal of Urban Renewal is for persons living in the community to be able to sustain themselves in the future.

Coordinator of Urban Renewal in New Providence Ella Lewis said Fort Charlotte has a lot to offer and it is expected that great things will happen in the community with Urban Renewal and the community working together.

“We will work together to make Fort Charlotte benefit from everything Urban Renewal has to give and Urban Renewal will work to make this community better, healthier, cleaner, stronger, safer, following the objectives of the newly re-launched Urban Renewal programme.”