A space for the community

Hakim Hayat

A project to transform a vacant house in Kampong Bolkiah ‘B’ in Kampong Ayer to a community centre targetted for youth and women recently became a reality after a four-month collaboration through the long partnership between Ristaan Abadi Initiative and Blue Raincoat Collective.

The project was also made possible with the help of young members from Institution of Surveyors, Engineers and Architects (PUJA).

The community centre, which is visible when you step onto the jetty of Kampong Bolkiah ‘B’, is now one of the prominent buildings in the village, envisioned as a space where activities are hosted on a weekly basis for the village community, primarily for women and children.

This space has been leased to The Collective to conduct activities aimed to support the community.

This project sees a renovation of the community centre to cater for activities ranging from arts and crafts to storytelling and gardening, to enhance the local community’s development through initiatives such as upskilling programmes within the space.

Youth taking part in an activity at Kampong Bolkiah ‘B’ Community Centre. PHOTOS: HAKIM HAYAT
Kampong Bolkiah ‘B’ Community Centre

In collaboration with sponsors, the residential unit leased by Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah (YSHHB) was transformed into a space with a large modern open concept outfitted with furnishings and amenities, as a place to hold future workshops and events focussing on upskilling the residents and promoting literacy and development skills within the residency, in particular the youth of Kampong Bolkiah ‘B’.

Greeting visitors to the centre is a beautiful Sunflower Lane arrangement built by Tree Lane Farm. The space is divided into four main sections – Activities Space; Cosy Corner; the Green Pantry and the Sunflower Lane. The idea of the different environment ensures different spaces for the community and organisers to conduct a range of activities, while ensuring the spaces are adaptable.

PUJA, along with sponsors’ help and also the youth from the village, worked from scratch to transform the community centre into what it is today.

Blue Raincoat Collective co-founder Shinny Chia said they are blessed to be given the opportunity to transform the residential unit in Kampong Bolkiah ‘B’, which she said is a low-income community, into a community centre.

“We have been very grateful as well to have engaged with PUJA and our other major sponsors, who have generously contributed their support, time, efforts and talent into the transformation of this unit,” she highlighted.

Shinny shared that their goal with Kampong Bolkiah ‘B’ is to support the community’s growth in community development, environmental sustainability, entrepreneurship and upskilling.

“The new community centre will help host events that we have curated throughout the year, which focusses on upskilling the residents and promoting literacy and development skills especially among the youth,” she added.

The centre was opened on March 5, 2021 in an event that saw a presentation from PUJA and the Blue Raincoat Collective. Tokens of appreciation were presented to the major sponsors of the Youth Centre transformation, while a video was also showcased featuring PUJA’s work in the transformation process that also involved village youth.

The launch was also attended by Legislative Council (LegCo) members Yang Berhormat Khairunnisa binti Haji Ash’ari and Yang Berhormat Nik Hafimi binti Abdul Haadii.

The Blue Raincoat Collective is a creative media marketing and events management company, and a social enterprise that believes in the power of creativity while using it as a tool or positive social change.