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RURAL EXPRESS - SDC awards over 20 community visionaries

Published:Saturday | December 6, 2014 | 12:00 AM
More than 20 community visionaries were honoured for their service to community development at the Battersea Community Centre on Thursday, November 20.
North-east Manchester Member of Parliament Audley Shaw (right) receives an award from Social Development Commission (SDC) Parish Manager Beverly Boothe. Shaw was honoured for sterling contribution to the SDC. - Photo by Tamara Bailey
Awardee Judith Forbes expressed how valuable she felt and even got a bit teary-eyed after the recognition from the SDC for her work. Forbes is a pre-trained medical missionary who helps students at the early-childhood and primary levels through funds received from selling books. She also spearheads a feeding programme for the needy. - Photo by Tamara Bailey

Tamara Bailey, Gleaner Writer

Battersea, Manchester:

A community with a people willing to work for the betterment of each other and, by extension, the nation, has the tendency to fast track developmental progress and make significant changes. For several years, the Social Development Commission (SDC) has influenced a spirit of unity and industriousness among community members and, after success, hails their efforts.

At the hall of the Battersea Community Centre on Thursday, November 20, the SDC awarded over 20 persons who have contributed significantly to transforming their communities, from concept to execution.

Executive director of the SDC, Dwayne Vernon, stated that it is important that the leaders, stakeholders, political directorate and other community visionaries know how much of an asset they are and that their sacrifices cannot go unnoticed.

With calls made by several to nurture the spirit of volunteerism for the continuous growth of the parish, Northwest Manchester Member of Parliament Mikael Phillips advocated that more funds be allocated to the Commission in helping them to better carry out their tasks and help to make MP's jobs easier.

Among the persons awarded were South Manchester MP, Michael Peart for 21 years of service; Central Manchester MP, Peter Bunting for years of partnership; Northwest MP Mikael Phillips for three years of service; Northeast MP Audley Shaw for sterling contribution; Her Worship the Mayor Brenda Ramsay for continued service; stakeholder Fay Heaven; and pre-trained medical missionary Judith Forbes.

Guest speaker at the awards ceremony, Custos of Clarendon, William Shagoury, in acknowledging the political representatives who were awarded, stated:

"We need to move with the kindness of our hearts. We need to show that we are a people of substance who want to help others, and it starts at the political level."

He continued, "Community service should be the hallmark of this area ... we must even continue to help those who are not our direct responsibility. Sometimes we become callous, but we must always be prepared to stop and give a helping hand."

Shagoury lamented that this realm of service is not and should not be limited to tangible gifts, but also inspiration and a reinforcement of principles.

"We must mentor and inspire our young people ... our young men are failing and we need to make a special effort ... we have to find a way to maintain morals and values."

With true appreciation for the Commission's roles in sectors even outside of their portfolio, the guest speaker encouraged persons to take charge of their lives by ensuring plans are in place for their children's future and that simple task such as cleaning community and physical restoration are done.

"Let us keep the flames of volunteerism burning... this is our country and we need to start taking charge of what belongs to us."

Over 13 communities were represented, boasting residents who received awards in the categories of sports, community development and volunteerism.