Three community centres in the territory were officially handed over for public use this week after being closed for rehabilitation because of the extensive damage they sustained during the September 2017 hurricanes.
They are the Valerie O. Thomas Community Centre in Sea Cows Bay, the Gertrude & Christiana Warner Community Centre in Purcell Estate — both of which officially reopened on Monday — and the Emille Dunlop Community Centre on Anegada which reopened the following day.
All the facilities have been equipped with SMART features to make them energy efficient as part of the government’s mission of sustainable development and environmental conservation.
The facilities are also equipped with resources that will be used as emergency shelters.
Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley noted that the European Union (EU) has been the government’s development partner for the renovations as the Union provided the funding necessary to undergo the works. He further noted that the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has provided the technical oversight for implementing the projects.
All three of the aforementioned community centres as well as the West End Community Centre benefitted from a Є2 million grant for the renovations.
“It is important for me to say here that the EU has been a very consistent and supportive development partner of the Virgin Islands
for over three decades,” Dr Wheatley stated.
In the meantime, Premier Wheatley described community centres as essential and intrinsic parts of the Virgin Islands
“They are places where many of our golden citizens meet for their cultural activities and to socialise. They are the venues where community meetings happen and where non-profit organisations come together to support different community members,” said Dr Natalio Wheatley stated while speaking on the handing-overs.
“They are the venues where birthday parties, wedding receptions and other social gatherings take place. Most importantly, and as already implied, community centres throughout the Virgin Islands
also serve as emergency shelters during natural disasters,” he added.