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Springfield Senior Citizens' Club working to improve lives

Published:Saturday | September 29, 2012 | 12:00 AM
From left: Blossom Hamilton, secretary, Springfield Senior Citizens' Club; Carmen Gordon, chief volunteer; and Gloria Facey, president, prepare plates and cups to serve refreshment to volunteers participating in the groundbreaking ceremony for the multi-purpose centre in the community.
From left: Volunteers, Wayne Arscott, Frank Ferron, and Rilva Barrett examine the building plan for the multi-purpose centre to be constructed by the Springfield Senior Citizens' Club in St Catherine.

Karen Sudu, Gleaner Writer

SPRINGFIELD, St Catherine:

ON A mission to make lives for the elderly in Springfield and adjoining areas in St Catherine and St Mary more comfortable, Gloria Facey, a retired guidance counsellor of Guy's Hill High School, formed the Springfield Senior Citizens' Club in March 2002.

Since then, the club, which holds its meetings at the Wheelers Mount Baptist Church in the community on first and third Thursdays each month, has been a beacon of hope for those it serves.

"We have been focusing on the shut-ins. We visit them, help with some of whatever care they might need - talk, comb their hair, run errands - and we give them monetary contributions when there is a need, and packages at Christmas time," explained Facey.

In fact, active members also receive assistance based on their needs.

"We give them monetary contributions like when they have funerals, sickness. And those of us who are mobile, when someone is sick, we take them to the doctor," she added.

Still yearning to do more, the organisation secured two and a half acres of land to construct a multi-purpose centre and broke ground for the $4-million facility on Monday.

"This piece of land was given to us by Icylyn Bruce-Walker, who is from the community and lives overseas, but she sees and recognises the need for this type of facility in Springfield, and so she has volunteered to give us the land to build the centre," Facey said.

Blossom Hamilton, secretary, said while the club's primary focus is seniors, persons of all age groups can benefit from the programmes offered.

"For example, a lot of young people have children, and if we have a homework programme here, then it's their children who will benefit," she told The Gleaner.

Facey noted that skills-training programmes - such as art and craft and home economics - would also be implemented when the facility has been completed, but they are relying on good Samaritans to make their dream a reality.


"We do not have money yet to build the centre, but we have written letters to businesses, corporate Jamaica on a whole, asking for assistance. We have asked Food For The Poor, Cement Company, and other business people for their help," Facey said.

So far, Gregory Mair, member of parliament for North East St Catherine, in which Springfield is located, has responded by donating some sand, while Dixon's Drugs Store in Linstead has contributed cash.

"We are doing a firm concrete foundation and wooden structure first so that we can start our projects. Later on, we will block up the building when we get the funds. So if anyone or any company can find it possible to help us - no matter how small - in cash or kind, we would be thankful," she said.

Frank Ferron, a building contractor, Rilva Barrett, and Wayne Arscott have volunteered their skills to reduce labour costs for the organisation of 35 members, which hosts a well-received health fair annually.

"I live in the area, so I have to help because it is important to help to get this building up, not just today, but as long as I am around," Ferron told The Gleaner.

Springfield Senior Citizens' Club is one of the most vibrant in St Catherine, having won several awards in the National Council for Senior Citizens, St Catherine, art and craft and culinary competitions.

Members have also attended several civic and social functions and have had the opportunity to have tea with former governor general, Sir Howard Cooke.

"Our idea is to ensure total involvement and development of seniors, not just socially, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually," Facey shared.