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SEBI provides assistance to The Source Savanna-la-Mar

Published:Friday | August 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM
USAID Mission Director Denise Herbol and Parris Lyew-Ayee, executive director of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute, engage in conversation at the launch of the JNBS Foundation's Social Enterprise Boost Initiative project on June 5, 2013, at The Jamaica Pegasus. - JIS FILE PHOTO

Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter

The Source Community Resource Centre in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, may be the youngest of the five centres, but its reach is no less expansive.

The centre serves the Russia, Seaton Crescent, Barracks Road and Broughton communities of Westmoreland's capital.

Julien Pringle, centre administrator, noted it was the largest of the Source centres and was created primarily to provide training and development for members of the community.

"We put on workshops, stage seminars, development camps," he said. "We have homework programmes, learning-readiness programmes where we basically teach mothers how to be the first teachers for their children, and we have basic computer skills training as well." Since officially opening in September 2012, thousands have come in seeking assistance.

"On an average day, our walk-in rate is about 50 to 60 persons," he said. "And if we're talking about persons specifically from the communities that we serve, about half of that number would be from there."

SEEKING SKILLS TRAINING

Most of the individuals who come in enquire about what courses they can do to get HEART Trust-level certification. In 2013, The Source offered two such courses, one in data operation, the other in housekeeping.

"Since then, we've actually got a lot of requests from persons for more courses," he said, noting some courses can take up to nine months.

"What we're trying to do now is shorter courses, but still provide the certification for persons."

Those new courses include leather craft and making stuffed toys and animals. But The Source doesn't just cater to the youth.

"I would say our age range is from seven to 70," he said. "We have programmes for different groups; we have a very vibrant senior citizens club."

The Social Enterprise Boost Initiative (SEBI) collaboration between the Jamaica National Building Society Foundation and the USAID, actually came about because the first Source centres were created. But Pringle noted SEBI still had a major role to play.

"We were happy to be chosen to be a part of it (SEBI) because we realised that it would provide us with a lot of physical assistance," he said, noting The Source stakeholders and management committee comprise 'regular' persons who actually reside within the communities they serve.

"It's not like we look for people with degrees," he said. "So they would definitely need some form of strengthening in order to be able to make the decisions that will assist The Source to be a fully self-sustainable, running organisation."

SEBI has provided them with the technical assistance and capacity building to strengthen what they already had.

EYES BACKYARD GARDENING

Looking ahead, one initiative that will soon start is a community backyard garden project.

"We are actually going to create four raised bed plots in the backyard of our community resource centre, so we'll be able to display best practices in agriculture," he explained. "And then we'll actually go into the communities and teach the persons how to do the same thing in their homes." There are also plans to create their own 4-H Club.

As with all The Source centres, Savanna-la-Mar serves communities that have had various levels of unrest and have similar problems to those associated with the inner city, including high unemployment and low education. Pringle said the communities were, at some point, in conflict with each other.

"So The Source centre is actually a way for these children in these communities to grow up without that bias that would have been in existence prior to the centre," he said.

He noted the centre was built with members of all four communities pitching in to do the work.

"So from there, the community spirit was basically being rebuilt along with the construction of the facility." The centre is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. To contact them, persons can call 918-0267, check out www.sourcesav.com, or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sourcesav or email info@sourcesav.com.

For more about SEBI, watch 'Corporate Coffee Mornings' with Barbara Ellington. at www.jamaica-gleaner.com and scroll to Videos.

daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com