A group of unemployed people have been put to work on repairing the sports areas of El Palmeral de San Antón in Orihuela that were badly damaged after the autumn floods. The 20-strong team were taken on by Orihuela council at the end of 2019 on a 12-month contract funded by the European Social Fund, and have started to deal with the flood-hit area. The project has been budgeted at over half a million euros, and Orihuela mayor, Emilio Bascuñana, along with employment councillor, Víctor Valverde, and sports councillor, Víctor Bernabéu, visited the site to check on the early progress by the workers. Bascuñana praised his employment and sports departments for coming together and to optimise the “scarce resources” the council has to make the needed improvements, as well as giving vital work to local people.
Victor Valverde said that 20 people were hired by the employment workshop, who have quickly been trained by management staff to get the work done to the required legal standard. Amongst the big list of repairs needed around the Palmeral sports centre include the replacement of damaged fences and a revamp of the changing rooms next to the football pitch. Another key item will be the restoration of the athletics track at the venue, with sports councillor Bernabéu pointing out that “the athletes of Orihuela City deserve to have that are in the best state as soon as possible”.
In tandem with the project, the workshop members are being taught garden and green space maintenance as well as masonry skills to a professional certificate level, as part of their year-long contract. Mayor Bascuñana said that the damage and hardship caused by the storms last September should not be forgotten.
“We are are still recovering and we still have a lot to recover, but everybody is working together to get things done quickly”, he stated.