Buff Bay senior citizens’ recreational centre under repair
The recreational centre for the elderly in Buff Bay, Portland, which fell into a state of disrepair, is now undergoing major rehabilitation work to restore the facility for use.
The structure was built around 2001 through an initiative by former Member of Parliament Errol Ennis to accommodate up to 60 senior citizens from communities across West Portland including Orange Bay, Hope Bay, Windsor Castle, Hart Hill, and the Buff Bay Valley.
Paul Hendricks, vice-president for the senior citizens club, explained that back then, the seniors visited the centre regularly to engage in recreational activities like domino playing, Spelling Bee, singing, Scrabble playing, worship services, and general socialising.
“There was a time when we would meet every day, but since COVID-19, we are now only meeting on a Tuesday.”
He said that over time, the integrity of the building structure declined and it is now seriously compromised.
“The roofing is in a bad state and doors are falling apart. We approached Desmond Lewis, a businessman, for assistance, and he responded immediately. With his help, we are now constructing a perimeter wall at the front of the recreational centre, which will allow for us to build a proper metal gate. So Mr Lewis is really providing us with much-needed assistance. The burglar bars are also rotting, so we are trying to preserve them by concreting the floor right up to the grill area,” he added.
Lewis, who is also the People’s National Party caretaker candidate for the Buff Bay division, said he welcomed the opportunity to assist with the project to provide the seniors with a place of comfort to be able to socialise with their peers.
“Our seniors are very important and very dear to me. They, too, have their own way of wanting to mingle and to become engaged in indoor activities. This is a God-given right and I am only assisting the process. I am hoping that others will come on board to realise the importance of catering for our seniors,” Lewis commented.
Gloria Sinclair, the club’s treasurer, gave an update on the level of support so far. She said the club has received building blocks, cement, sand, gravel, and paint to assist with the rehabilitation, which is being done in phases by workmen from the area who have volunteered their services.
“The wooden (board) areas, which have rotted, are being replaced by concrete, ... to preserve the strength of the building,” she said.
“There is so much work to be done, but we are getting help and expectations are high. Even now we still have about 30 people turning out each Tuesday to take part in recreational activities. As seniors, we usually visit the shut-ins and assist them with a little food and personal items while engaging in prayers,” she said.