A local organization is bringing football to female prisoners this weekend.
FC International will put on a football camp for the women of Fairbanks Prison in George Town.
The camp takes place tomorrow from 9am until 1pm. Lunch, being brought in courtesy of a local restaurant, will be made available to the women.
The prison, directed by Unit Manager Stephen Atherley, holds some 17 women. Most of the current inmates are repeat offenders for a variety of crimes.
As FC International President Kennedy Ebanks says the camp is a first in many ways.
‘For the first time in these islands a football organization is putting its interest in doing a camp for the females at Fairbanks Prison.
‘Elbert [McLean Camp Technical Director] and I have been observing the prison for quite some time, from as far back as 2006.’
Fairbanks Prison Supervisor Rose Hurlston said the camp will be a good one for the women.
‘I feel good about the camp. Finally someone has an interest in the female prisoners.
‘The females hardly have any exercise so the camp really gives them something to do. It will be well-appreciated by the female prisoners.’
Basic football drills will be taught though Elbert McLean says the emphasis will be on exercise and being active.
‘We will make the camp more about fun than intense football. We’ll definitely make sure they get a workout, if the weather holds up.’
Kennedy Ebanks feels that the camp is a way to reach out to a section of the community often left out.
Kennedy admits that though the camp is a small step towards including them in the community it’s a step nonetheless. He explained how the camp came about.
‘We looked at security and other issues and went through the guidelines with the prison staff.
‘We actually were supposed to put on the camp 9 August but because of security reasons we had to re-schedule and then the hurricane came so it dragged into September.’
McLean said the group is not intimidated by having to work with prisoners.
In fact McLean says he has worked with troubled youth in the past.
‘We don’t have a problem going to the prison. I’m glad to be part of this. It’s a challenge we’re willing to face front on.
‘I myself have worked with the Eagle House [a rehabilitation centre for young offenders] for the last four years doing my own charity work.’
The Eagle House juvenile facility is a boys-only centre that caters to young men aged 14-20.
FC International General Manager Fred Ebanks, who plays a central role in getting soccer camps up and running, feels the camp can be another of the group’s yearly offering of local camps.
‘We’re adding on to our repertoire of camps every year. We’re looking forward to going to the Fairbanks Prison in the future.
‘Every camp we start we look to make it an annual thing especially once the support is there.’
From here FC International will look to put on another football camp. That one will take place in Cayman Brac next Saturday 27 September.
Ultimately Kennedy Ebanks would like to give thanks to the people that have supported FC International along the way.
‘I would like to say thanks to the general public for all the support over the years for all the camps.
‘Thank God for His guidance and protection in everything we do. Finally thanks to the RCIP and those that work night-shift for all their hard work. Let’s all do our part to help keep crime low.’