The new St. James Youth Centre that now adorns our landscape in all its majesty was constructed on the site of the old St. James Community Centre. This facility was built as part of the government’s Vision 2020 which seeks to empower the youth of the nation. History is important in chronicling progress. The history of the old community centre must be considered to understand the new ‘youth centre.’ The old community centre, a model of its day, was built with materials from the surrounding vicinity and the labour was provided by the young men of the community. This project was truly a community effort.
If memory serves me correct the community centre was a ‘hub of activities’ offering: dance, tailoring, welding and tutoring in primary and secondary level education. This institution served and nourished St. James and the surrounding communities for many years.
The progression of time and two chief factors, one being the advent of the comprehensive schools and secondly the revamping of the technical institutes, caused a steady decline in usage of the centre thus rendering it to the underused category.
A community centre is an integral part of the micro society, engendering not only technical and vocational learning but also fostering and stimulating community togetherness, camaraderie, and can act as an avenue for establishing and maintaining the links between the generational members of the society.
This St. James Youth Centre was built by the government in corporation with the Peoples Republic of China, and its management falls under the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs.
The citizens of St. James as community minded people are thankful that we once again have a centre in our precincts. This edifice is a reflection of our aspirations and as a vanguard community the 21st century looks to be one of promise. The Youth Centre has all the makings of one to deliver what it was constructed for and all is left up to the community to aggressively exploit its offerings.
We at St. James Times are of the opinion that this new facility will serve as an holistic education endeavor which will be integral to the government youth career stimulus plan.