Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter
THE RESIDENTS of Angels Grove in St Catherine are creating ripples, not only across their community, but through neighbouring communities as they work outside the proverbial box to empower themselves and others.
Angels Grove is not only making strides in taking care of its own residents, but has extended its benevolence to others.
Located just metres away from the Bog Walk Gorge in the parish, the residents of Angels Grove are not looking for handouts from any source, but, instead, have come up with exciting initiatives to help each other, particularly those who are unemployed.
President of the Angels Grove Citizens Association, Melrose Johnson King, told The Gleaner that the community has just approached the Jamaica Social Investment Fund to seek support for residents who have formed a cooperative society to boost their individual micro enterprises.
Johnson King told The Gleaner there were many persons with various skills in the community who have started micro businesses but need capital to push them further.
The residents recognised that if they got registered as a cooperative there was a greater chance for them to receive funding than if they approached funding institutions as individuals. Further, they believe the impact on the community is far greater when a cooperative is funded rather than individual businesses.
Wendy-Jo Williams, social development manager at the National Housing Trust, who works closely with the residents, said the community was "very good at using simple Jamaican food and plants to produce value-added products".
She noted that the residents had a ready market for their products.
A proactive Johnson King also told The Gleaner that the community has approached China Harbour Engineering Company Limited, the contractors for the new North-South Link of Highway 2000 which is expected to pass close to their community. She said the residents wanted to know how the highway would impact their community and to enquire whether there was scope for persons in the area to get jobs.
"Right now, if they want persons they would call us and say 'Mrs King, we need three weed-whacker men' or 'we need three men to cut down trees'," she said.
Recognising the important role played by divers who from time to time save lives in the Bog Walk Gorge when there are accidents, the community invited some of the young men to participate in a safety and security training exercise conducted by members of the Jamaica Fire Brigade.
"Some of them have been certified through our initiative. We are also in dialogue with someone trying to assist persons out there to get some income going. We have intervened on their behalf and we are seeking assistance for them and it is now at an advanced stage," Johnson King divulged.
However, Johnson King said she would not at this time disclose the name of the organisation from which assistance was being sought for the divers.
In an effort to save lives should an accident occur in the vicinity of the Bog Walk Gorge, the residents have also organised an emergency response team from the community comprising nurses, firefighters and the police. The members of the response team are provided with T-shirts with the inscription 'Angels Grove Emergency Response'.