Twenty-one persons from the North Leeward community of Rose Hall and five persons from outside that community were on Sunday 18th October, the recipients of assistance from the Kenville Horne Sports Academy (KHSA).
The assistance varied across a range of food, personal and household items, farming materials including fertilizer and seedlings, as well as finance.
It is estimated that the 26 persons who received assistance represented households that comprised well over a total of 100 persons.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony at the Rose Hall Community Centre, Founder/Director of the KHSA Kenville Horne explained that the donation was made possible through a grant of $10,000 from the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT) COVID-19 Response Grants programme, which was set up to support young leaders who are offering critical services to their communities during this time.
The grant came, Horne said, after the KHSA’s application went through a rigorous process to ensure transparency and accountability.
“This was indeed a tremendous accomplishment and a validation of the work we are doing to improve the community,” he said.
The original intention was to assist 15 persons, but as it became evident that many more persons had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the number simply had to be increased.
According to Horne, the Academy is not only committed to fight crime, prevent idleness and provide an avenue (sport) for growth and development of disadvantaged youth between the ages of 6 to 17.
It is, he added, also about assisting in tackling poverty, preventing health issues, ensuring food security, as well as about responding to immediate real needs.
The latter case, Horne shared, was borne out in assistance towards offsetting an electricity bill for a family.
And Horne was particularly pleased that the KHSA was able to purchase some of the items it donated from businesses in the community and surrounding areas, “in an effort to help the rural economy.”
A journalist by profession, Horne appealed to persons across St. Vincent and the Grenadines, “to take time out and help your communities in whatever little way you can. … . Once we have better communities we will have a better country.”
KHSA record to date
Secretary of the KHSA, Kerisha St. Hillaire, also addressed the ceremony.
She thanked the QCT on behalf of the Academy, and proceeded thereafter, to list the work that the Academy has done to date, to wit: training sessions for youth footballers and young people generally in Rose Hall; organizing various sporting events including soccer tournaments; hosting back to school giveaway events and clothing distribution exercises; hosting an annual Christmas concert; donation of three boxes of books and a number of shelves to the Rose Hall Library, in collaboration with the Logos Book Ship; donation of a number of items to the poultry project at Coulls Hill Government School.
St. Hillaire also said that the Academy was awaiting approval to kick start a Reading Club at the Rose Hall Library.
Saying thanks – Honouring a stalwart
Also speaking at the ceremony was veteran teacher and community activist, Rohan Chambers.
He praised Horne for always giving back to his community and not forgetting where he came from. “He has gone out of his way and applied for this grant and those recipients tonight, I want you to be very grateful,” Chambers said.
He thanked Horne, familiarly known as ‘Fonando’, saying, “So ‘Fonando’, I want to personally thank you and I am very proud of you.”
Little did Chambers know… he was about to be honored. He was presented with a plaque by the KHSA for his outstanding service to the Rose Hall community, and 34 years of service as a teacher of the Rose Hall Government School.
A number of recipients expressed gratitude for the support they and others received.
But perhaps the most telling acknowledgement came from Belinda Stapleton and her mother, Sally Stapleton, who received food packages and financial support.
Belinda said that she and her mom have been finding it very hard since the pandemic. “We are really grateful to the Trust and your programme in Rose Hall. I tried to take my life because things were so hard but I went to the hospital and get help. I have to also thank Karka (an elderly woman in the village) for helping me because when I drink the poison she give me mustard, milk and sugar water.”
Belinda’s mom Sally suffered a heart attack during the time her daughter attempted suicide. “It’s real rough and because of the virus things getting harder. We are very happy for the help we get,” Sally said.