A Hamilton property will be used to launch a community vocational and job-training centre for disenfranchised youth.
The lot, located close to south entrance of Bermuda National Sports Centre, was awarded to the Emperial Group.
The group will also receive a cash grant from the Department of Works and Engineering and the Department of Social Development and Sports.
The plan is to address antisocial behaviour by providing vocational and job training, career-development supports, GED services, prevention mentoring programmes, and more.
Gladwyn Simmons, of Emperial Group, said that any measure which could successfully stem violence and help rehabilitate members of the community was a project worth pursuing.
“All communities benefit most when its citizens are productive,” he said.
Mr Simmons said there had been a “deficit in productivity” in certain areas of society. The group’s “unique and creative” approach to job and educational training, and mentoring, he said, would produce positive results.
Those involved in the renovation of the property will receive training in areas including masonry, painting and carpentry.
The group eventually plans to have three similar training centres located across the island.
To get the ball rolling on the first project as soon as possible, community partners willing to provide assistance — whether monetary or otherwise — are being encouraged to reach out.
The long-term vision for the property includes the eventual development of a farm technology programme to accommodate vertical farming.
Corin Smith, with Emperial Group, said that the use of such technology was important as part of the island’s food strategy.
“Vertical farming is the future of agriculture and has benefits that could revolutionise farming in Bermuda,” he said.
Nandi Outerbrige, Minister of Social Development and Sports, said that yesterday’s announcement had been in the works for several months.
“It is exciting to see it come to fruition since it is of national importance to develop resources and support programmes that empower our young adults to be productive citizens,” she said.
The programmes associated with the project, Ms Outerbridge said, would “most definitely” help disenfranchised youth find success through personal development.
“It will be a welcome addition to the island’s other vocational training and youth development initiatives, and will provide the unique opportunity to customise job-training programs specific to the needs of the surrounding community,” she said.