Rebuilding of the Wortley Home for Girls, which was destroyed by fire in June 2015, is now in progress.
The J$46 million construction project is being managed by Food for the Poor under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands which manages the Home; and completion is expected by February 2017.
The modern split-level building designed by architect, Rivi Gardner, will house dormitories on two floors to accommodate 32 girls – up from the previous capacity of 24. Other facilities will include a sick bay, homework and study room, separate bedrooms and bathrooms for the House Mother and staff, as well as a community foyer.
Ground was broken for the start of construction by The Rt. Rev. Howard Gregory, Lord Bishop; Mr. Raphael “Keith” Sangster, Chairman of the Wortley Home’s Board of Management; Mrs. Tanya Wildish, Board Member; Miss Delate Howell, a resident of the Home, now pursuing a Degree in Nursing; and Mr. Andrew Mahfood, Chairman, Food For the Poor. They were joined at the ceremony on August 10 by Senior Executives of Food for the Poor; Mrs. Rosalee Gage-Grey, Chief Executive Officer, Child Development Agency; and community stakeholders.
Mrs. Wildish explained that “there was an indescribable rally of support” in the two weeks following the fire; and by November 2015, a total J$30 million was raised. She attributed this to the fact that the institution had provided a real home for young girls during its 98 years of operation and had “embedded itself in the hearts of many persons in the community.”
Describing the rebuilding project as “a tapestry of Jamaican kindness,” Mrs. Wildish expressed confidence that donors across the Jamaican diaspora would “help to bring the new Wortley Home out of the ashes.”
In his remarks, Bishop Gregory thanked members of the Immaculate Conception Convent, who offered the first shelter for residents of the burned-out Home. He commended the Board of Management for its leadership, to date; as well as the House Mother, Miss Delores Bailey and her staff who have maintained operations at the SOS Children’s Village in Stony Hill. The Lord Bishop welcomed the involvement of Food for the Poor, which has worked with the Diocese on several projects, and which, along with professionals associated with the project, have offered their services free of charge.
Food for the Poor Chairman, Mr. Andrew Mahfood, said his organisation considered it a privilege to assist the rebuilding effort; and he pledged to provide any additional support required.
The adjacent building on the complex, which houses the kitchen, dining room and laundry, is also to be refurbished at a cost of J$4 Million, for which fund-raising is being mounted.