Ward 34 Community Awards launched

2016-01-27 06:00

IT may be early in the year but local veteran, well travelled journalist and Ward 34 community activist Jerry Barnes is already hitting the road running around and spending sleepless nights trying to put together his new project, named Ward 34 (Eastwood, Panorama, Cinderella Park, Madiba, Malivana and Jesmondene) Community Awards.

Late last year Barnes staged his annual­ Ward 34 Community Sports Day at Panorama grounds which attracted about 250 youngsters and scores of sports followers.

The event was sponsored by Poobie Naidoo Sports, Karanichas, Gift of the Givers, Mpi Mchunu (Panorama businessman), Department of Sports and Recreation and Panorama Primary School.

During the recent festive season, Barnes hosted 200 disadvantage community­ members from the nearby informal settlement to a Christmas lunch, funded by Shameer from Crescent Car Sales and Gift of the Givers.

Barnes was also a member of the Eastwood Catholic Church organising committee that brought together senior citizens for their annual Christmas lunch.

“I am not trying to please anyone or attract eyes out there for some reason, I grew up in a broken, poor family. My grandmothers tried their best and worked hard to make sure we ate something every day.

“My mother too made sure that things were together and looked normal when things were tough in our family in Eastwood.

“I am just passionate about my community and always go out and see if I can help the needy,” said Barnes.

His “newborn baby”, the Ward 34 Community Awards, will honour the young, adults and community members who contributed positively in the area in order to improve lives in different spheres or platforms.

He believes the awards ceremony will unearth unknown leaders in communities and paint a good picture about areas such as Eastwood, Cinderella­ Park, Malivana, Panorama­, Madiba and other nearby areas.

“Currently there’s a wrong perception about our area.

“I believe by hosting such events, children, adults, church leaders, sportsmen, sportswomen, teachers or community leaders, who contribute positively in taking Ward 34 to the next level, will see that there are a lot of good people or good things in our area.

“The fact is, our challenges are just the same as in other areas around Pietermaritzburg­.”

The function is scheduled for 27 April, Freedom Day, at Eastwood hall.

“As usual, and just like my other projects, it’s not going to be easy. It is also clear that I can’t do it alone or make it a one-man show.

“I will have a working committee in my area and again walk, phone or knock all over asking for help and donations.”

Barnes is open to ideas and invites volunteers, community members and potential sponsors to come on board.

He can be contacted at 8 Redwood Crescent, Panorama Gardens, 083 521 9553 or jerryb.barnes228 @gmail.com

- Supplied.

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