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Hargreaves Court in £25,000 renovation plan for Gibraltar's youngsters

HARGREAVES COURT IN £25,000 RENOVATION PLANPlans for a £25,000 refurbishment of the old Hargreaves Court playground as part of a drug prevention initiative by the Gibraltar Government and the RG Police, were unveiled yesterday by Drug Coordinator John Montegriffo.

And at a presentation yesterday RGP Sergeant John Goodman said the promotion of sporting activities and a healthy lifestyle, were vital elements in the overall strategy to combat drug abuse in society. “The Hargreaves Project is part of a plan to enhance sporting facilities available in the area to deflect potential offenders from the dangers of drugs,” he said.

Hargreaves Court, a popular playing area used by youths over several generations, has fallen into a state of dilapidation in recent years. Besides the graffiti eye-sore, its rusty fences, inadequate access and permanent traffic build-ups have made it increasingly unsafe for children. Works to transform the deteriorated area into a modern basketball and five-a-side court should be completed in a period of six weeks. The playground will be resurfaced, and adequate facilities installed. Schools will be encouraged to make greater use of the playground.

Funding for the project is from both public and private sponsors. The TGWU will also be a partner in the project and allow the use of its façade for ‘static’ advertising. Anti-drug slogans will be included. Allocations continue to be handled by the Victoria Stadium as at present, while an employee of the Sports Authority will be appointed caretaker for the renovated facilities. Drug Coordinator John Montegriffo said: “We want to make sure that our drug prevention and awareness message is reaching the right ears. Government has spent a lot of money on state of the art sports facilities, but we ask ourselves whether some children are slipping through the net.

The Hargreaves Project is a visible embodiment of what our strategy is all about.”For his part Sergeant Goodman explained the objectives of the Drug Awareness Strategy, launched in 2003, where the RGP combine with the Education and Social Services Department to take the message to local schools. Sgt Goodman has been at the forefront of the organisation of sporting activities for youth under the auspices of the strategy. “We have a threefold aim in dealing with drugs: prevention, rehabilitation and enforcement. By having a safer environment at Hargreaves playground, we want to enhance links with youth as we promote drug awareness.”

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