The empowerment needs and challenges of people living in rural and urban spaces in major islands will be addressed through the establishment of urban community centers by the government. Social Services and Urban Development Minister, the Hon. Lanisha Rolle said throughout the past year the Urban Renewal Commission has been focused on the Urban Renewal programme including acquiring and training staff, refining the operational system and strengthening its structure. A re-launch and re-branding ceremony for Urban Community Centres was held Monday, June 11, 2018, at the Urban Renewal Centre in Pinewood Gardens. Members of Parliament, senators, representatives of Urban Renewal and the Urban Renewal Commission, senior government officials, and members of the disabled community attended the event. Music was provided by the Urban Renewal Band.
Minister Rolle told those gathered that around the world countries have determined that sustainable development goals are dependent upon effective urban development approaches and the government believes that Urban Renewal programmes, social services, and other social empowerment programmes ensure that the goals are met, that people have equal opportunities and no person or community is left behind. She said the programme is intended to ensure those who are marginalized or disadvantaged have equal opportunities and access to essential services and are able to work, play and function in a clean and peaceful environment.
“The Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development through the Urban Renewal Commission has put into action its commitment to transforming the socio-economic landscape of our communities and people through urban empowerment programmes,” said Minister Rolle. Urban Renewal centers have been renovated to provide wheelchair access to disabled clients. The programmes are operated by center managers with experience and academic qualifications along with a staff including a programme officer, special projects officer, auxiliary team and inter-agency unit including Royal Bahamas Defence Force support, Police Community Relations and Social Services community unit. Members of the team are undergoing training to ensure their ability to respond to urgent needs of clients who participate in the programmes. A volunteer unit, headed by the manager, is also in operation at each Urban Community Centre. Volunteers are processed, vetted, approved and certified.