Big shoes to fill at Community Chest

2011-08-02 00:00

AFTER 11 years of service to the Pietermaritzburg and District Community Chest, Aroo Naidoo steps down and leaves big shoes to fill for the new executive director, Michael Deegan.

Deegan (54) is originally from Ireland and has spent the last 20 months as the director of Camphill School Hermanus in Cape Town, a school for children and young people with special needs.

He was also involved in starting Overstrand Hospice and has worked for various NGOs in the time that he spent in the Western Cape.

He moved to Pietermaritzburg after his wife was employed at Grace College in Hilton.

“I am looking forward to life in Pietermaritzburg,” says Deegan.

Having spent seven years working in the United States for computer company Honeywell in California, Deegan was amazed by the sight of lines of trucks trailing each other on the N3.

“You never see trucks going up and down in America. It’s an amazing sight,” he said.

Deegan admits that there is a lot to learn and plans to meet as many people as possible, both donors and beneficiaries, to listen to them and see what needs are most urgent.

“[Naidoo] has really grown the Chest with an increase from 55 to 69 beneficiaries in the last year.

“My initial plans are to consolidate that growth and ensure that the 69 beneficiaries are working well before deciding what to do next.

“What comes next is a process that everyone needs to be involved in; it’s a team effort,” he said.

Naidoo, though retiring, will continue to be a part of the Community Chest and was elected as a volunteer counsel member of the organisation.

Naidoo said,“I want to spend more time with things that I didn’t have the opportunity to in the past especially spending more time with my wife and grandson.”

“I have experienced many memorable moments with the Community Chest and it has given me the opportunity to help those in need and with disabilities in a way that is unimaginable. The community has really opened their hearts to helping us,” he added.

• If you would like to assist Pietermaritzburg and District Community Chest, you can contact the organisation on 033 394 1031.

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