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White Hill residents want a community centre

A centre for the community could help cut unemployment in a Sandys neighbourhood, activists said yesterday.

The White Hill area of the parish has not had a hub since the Somerset Bridge Recreation Club's clubhouse at White Hill Field was demolished ten years ago.

Ruddy Webb, a member of the Young Progressives, who lives in the area, said: “The supermarket should not be the meeting point of the community.”

He added people from White Hill needed somewhere to meet to discuss local problems.

Mr Webb added: “We have aspirations, we are not looking for somewhere to sit and drink beer.”

He said young people could also use a community centre to learn how to make craft items and other skills.

Mr Webb added that claims that a central hub would attract antisocial behaviour were unfair.

He said: “We are not a violent community; there are just a few who may break the law.”

Mr Webb added the community was ‘close-knit' and that there were no gangs in the area.

He said claims made years ago that area was violent and plagued with gangs were not true, but the reputation of White Hill had been damaged.

The clubhouse, which was built by residents, was demolished in 2008.

Elvin James, then the Progressive Labour Party government's sports minister, promised at the time that a multipurpose complex good enough to host international cricket would be built.

Kenny Thompson, a footballer and coach, who grew up in the area, backed calls for a replacement for the old club house.

He said: “It will really be positive to have a community centre. Not necessarily a traditional club ... there are a lot of limitations without a building.”

He said community programmes had started and been discontinued, but a central hub could help to prevent that. Mr Thompson added it was important to have “a place where people are able run programmes, to socialise, to see faces”.

He said: “It's not all about how much money can be made; we are talking about investing in people.”

People in the area added that a centre could also help the area develop local businesses.

Mr Webb pointed out that White Hill had one of the best football fields in the country and proper facilities could be used by businesses to organise events.

Mr Webb said the strength of the country depended on the strength of local communities, but that resources were needed.

He added a community centre could also be used to host weddings and funerals.

One White Hill resident, who asked not to be named, said the Morgan's Point hotel development had not been a boost to the White Hill area.

He said: “There is no empowerment coming from the development. There should be no unemployment in the community with this development.”

He added: “If the Government makes their input, the community will contribute.”

The White Hill area of Sandys parish has not had a hub since the Somerset Bridge Recreation Club's clubhouse at the area's sports field was demolished ten years ago

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Published March 06, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated March 06, 2019 at 7:21 am)

White Hill residents want a community centre

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