It was, undoubtedly, an occasion for thanksgiving as the modern split-level building housing the new Wortley Home for Girls, in Constant Spring, was rededicated and reopened on February 28 in a ceremony attended by residents of the Home, members of the Diocese, as well as donors and well-wishers.
Recalling the devastating fire of 2015 which left the 19 residents at the time homeless, Diocesan Bishop, Howard Gregory, who rededicated the building, said reconstruction under a Memorandum of Understanding with Food for the Poor was done with “abundant grace.” He congratulated the Board of the Wortley Home for its leadership in ensuring the success of the building project.
The Bishop was joined in the ceremonial ribbon cutting by Mr. Andrew Mahfood, Chairman of Food for the Poor, Jamaica; and he thanked the agency for its assistance in “restoring a nurturing environment for the girls in our care.”
Mr. Mahfood said Food for the Poor was pleased to have been involved with the project. Acknowledging the service of the contractors who worked beyond the call of duty, he noted that:
“It is amazing what we can do as a people when tragedy strikes, and we come together to do good.”
Board Member, Mrs. Tanya Wildish, highlighted “the tapestry of kindness” reflected in the many and varied donations received since the fire. These included a $30,000 contribution from a bake sale organised by a four-year-old child. However, she asserted, “we want to move beyond the charity basis on which the Home operated previously, and to achieve self-sufficiency.”
Designed by architect, Rivi Gardner, the new building has dormitories on two floors to accommodate a total of 32 girls – up from the previous capacity of 24. Facilities include a sick bay, a homework and study room with 20 computers donated by two former residents who now live in the United States. Separate bedrooms and bathrooms for the House Mother and staff, an office and meeting room, a common area for visitors, emergency staircases, a modern security system and landscaped grounds are other features.
A plaque on an adjacent building which houses the kitchen, dining room and laundry, was unveiled by Mrs. Laura Facey of the Cecil Boswell Facey Foundation, which sponsored refurbishing.
The Wortley Home, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in May, is one of three Children’s Homes operated by the Diocese.