Sun | Aug 14, 2022

New green spaces for children in Lethe, Bickersteth

Published:Saturday | July 2, 2022 | 12:09 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Students of Bickersteth Primary and Infant School in Bickersteth, St James, gather for a photo op following a ground-breaking ceremony for the opening of a new green space at the school on Thursday, June 30.
Students of Bickersteth Primary and Infant School in Bickersteth, St James, gather for a photo op following a ground-breaking ceremony for the opening of a new green space at the school on Thursday, June 30.

WESTERN BUREAU:

New parks and green spaces were officially opened at the Lethe and Bickersteth primary and infant schools in St James on Thursday, giving children in the surrounding communities safe and natural spaces to play.

The spaces were developed at a combined cost of $3.6 million as part of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund’s (JSIF) Integrated Community Development Project Part 2 to improve community aesthetics in the wider Anchovy community and surrounding districts.

Tricia Grey-Palmer, a parent of a student at Lethe Primary, expressed gratitude for the green space, which, along with the other in Bickersteth, was built to promote interaction and socialisation of residents and improve local safety.

“I feel very proud about it, and also very proud for the community as well and the hard-working teachers that we have here. I know it will benefit the students that are about to leave and those who are about to come in,” Grey-Palmer said.

During the handover ceremony, ground was broken for rehabilitation work at Lethe Primary, including renovation of bathroom amenities and the roof of the sanitation block.

A sidewalk and guardrails will also be constructed along with the painting of the guardhouse at the Bickersteth Primary School, among other related projects.

Lethe Primary Principal Allison McGhie thanked JSIF for its commitment to improving the communities.

“Today is indeed a celebratory day and the beginning of great things here at Lethe Primary School, and also at Bickersteth Primary School. JSIF, you have made it all possible,” said McGhie.

“We are resolute to keep this partnership going, as it has provided many opportunities to the youth, and it is indeed a vehicle that empowers lives as it is evident from the many persons and communities that have benefited from your various innovations,” she added.

That gratitude was likewise shared by Robert Gordon, principal of Bickersteth Primary.

“We are always happy to have the JSIF and we are very happy about everything that is happening where you are supporting us. On behalf of all the schools who have benefited from a change-of-life opportunity, our children can now use these spaces in a safe and secure manner, and we want to say a big thank you to JSIF,” said Gordon.

Meanwhile, Mona Sue-Ho, JSIF’s senior manager in charge of social development, thanked the Lethe and Bickersteth residents for collaborating with the state agency to execute the projects.

“The implementation of these projects signals the JSIF’s goal to improve the quality of life of residents through the provision of basic infrastructure and social services in Anchovy. I implore the residents to own these parks and to take pride in them, while ensuring their continued maintenance so that these spaces are less hospitable to illicit activity,” said Sue-Ho.

christopher.thomas@gleanerjm.com