A community initiative in Hillview, launched 17 years ago, has proven that hard times can’t keep it down. Having pushed through adversity, it is now looking to 2020 for more blessings.The Omegaview Community Project was started almost two decades ago to address a need in the underprivileged community. “In 2002, it began as a soup kitchen. We started feeding five children but it increased to 10, then 15 and eventually to just under 100. We also decided we needed to expand and we did that with our backyard library,” says John Nicholson, founder of the project.With the support of his wife, Gail; their sons, Ryan (26) and Chadwin (24); Dorothy Zeederberg and other volunteers, the ever-evolving project provides several services to the community.The soup kitchen is open every Monday and Thursday, depending on donations. The library is open after school until 16:00 every Monday and Friday.“When you feed a child, there’s no point in just feeding the tummy and not the mind,” John says.A cycling club was also formed which is run mainly during school holidays. “If the areas are safe, we take them to Muizenberg and Kalk Bay, have a little swim and then come back.”The group also assists the elderly during emergencies, but hope to expand on this service.“We have a huge problem in our area; our seniors are neglected. My dream is to own a combi. If we can be blessed with a combi, I would like to get one of my sons to drive our senior members around – to the hospital, shopping, for their tablets,” he says.Two years ago, the project decided to also reach out to the youth, A band called Inter-mezzo was formed. Ryan and Chadwin play the trumpets.Hard times struck when the library facility lost its roof last year but Biblionef, a non-profit organisation that donates books, came to the aid of the project; providing a new roof fitted less than two months ago.Despite a lack of funding and various challenges, the project has continued to serve the community. And next year, John and his family hope to do even more.“We want to expand the sewing and upholstery programme so that we can create an income for the ladies and the project itself.“Our mission is simple: we want to eradicate poverty,” he explains. Women participating in the programme sew shopping bags, children’s clothes and suits.For more information on the Omegaview Community Project, visit their Facebook page or call John on 072 313 6358.