The Salem Community will finally get a community centre, which is fit for purpose and safe to use.
Under the new BNTF10 Programme cycle, the old Salem Primary School is to be restored and rehabilitated and become a resource centre. The school has been in a state of disrepair and currently out of use. After the improvements, it is to be used to facilitate developmental workshops and classes, serve as a space for community meetings and other events; be the home for the Montserrat National Steel Orchestra pan house / practice room; and serve as a hurricane shelter among other activities.
The Salem Community Resource Centre project is expected to start in April 2022. This is one of three projects to be undertaken with the US$607,000 or approximately XCD$1.65 million dollars agreement for Montserrat’s BNTF10 Programme Cycle.
The Youth Development Programme, expected start in February 2022 is a project designed by the Department of Community Youth and Sports Services (DCYSS). The Youth Development Programme will assist unemployed/underemployed young people in the community to gain competencies and skills to qualify for a job/career, as well as teaching the art of implementing a business and the skills and attitude needed to be successful.
The final project will be the Human Resource Development/Skills Training Renewable Energy Resilience Certification. The project, expected to start in 2022 is geared to providing training to increase local certification on the installation, inspection and maintenance of solar photovoltaics i.e. solar PV. As a practical aspect of the training solar photovoltaic (PV) systems will be installed at the government health centres on island which do not have backup generators.
BNTF’s Project Manager, Mrs. Jennifer Meade noted that the three projects will positively impact the communities.
The Youth Development/Skills Training programme will help to create more jobs on island and allow young persons to start a business from a young age, giving them space for trial and error, experience and also provide a gender-balanced workforce and entrepreneurs.
The new BNTF Project Manager said the aim of the Human Resource Skills Training–Renewable Energy project, is to improve the reliability of electricity supply and reduce downtime for the health centres. The project will provide training and certification to persons on island in the PV renewal energy sector. Meade added that this will increase not only the capacity of Montserrat but of the Caribbean, which is moving towards a sustainable energy future. It will also help participants develop the necessary skills to work in the PV industry which will signal to the Montserrat community that Renewable Energy systems are feasible and have long term benefits to the environment.
The BNTF Project Manager further noted that projects, especially the Salem Resource Centre will help to stimulate the economy through job creation and increase spending in the short term. It will provide improved facilities and a safe haven for residents in the event of natural disasters such as hurricanes. While the training projects will empower the youths, harness their skills, prepare them to be independent, more productive and marketable in a changing environment.
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) will provide 95% of project funds and the Government of Montserrat 5%. The projects are geared to the reduction of poverty, enhancement of livelihoods and improving quality of life on Montserrat.