CHASE Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Health Fair in Sherlock Community
An area known to have produced and/or encouraged several of the nation’s best-known entertainers, Cham, Konshens and Mr. G, among others, the Sherlock Crescent section of Duhaney Park, has also been seeking to diversify its activities and areas of excellence. Community Association President, Tushane Green, has also identified academic excellence as an envisaged pillar of the community to compliment its clear cultural prowess. Understandably, the residents of this community also wish to have access to health services and information on better lifestyle choices.
All of which made Sherlock the ideal venue for the latest venture of the CHASE Fund in its 20th Anniversary commemorations. The Fund sponsored the construction of an approximately 5,000 sq ft multi-purpose building, to the tune of some J$49 million. The Centre encompasses space for music performance, indoor recreation, an outdoor stage and sections to accommodate various learning activities. It also provided the perfect venue for a Health Fair on Saturday, (March 4, 2023), funded by CHASE, and presented in collaboration with several corporate and health sector partners.
Speaking to the rationale behind the event, W. Billy Heaven, CHASE, Chief Executive Officer, said the Fund was pleased to support the community and the facility in particular. “Promoting healthy lifestyles by bringing care to the people and building, equipping and upgrading various facilities are a vital part of our mandate,” Heaven said. “In this our 20th year, we are pleased to be able to not only support physical infrastructure, such as this multi-purpose building, but also directly aid in promoting the well-being of the residents and to facilitate cohesion and socialisation among them.”
The focus on health as well as education resonated directly with President Green “This [centre] means the world for the Sherlock community as it sets the stage for us to further promote educational development, which has always been our top priority. We greatly appreciate the intervention of the CHASE Fund in this project and look forward to great success here.”
It didn’t take too long before a regular stream of residents began to enter the Sherlock Community and Cultural Centre. Undaunted by the heat, persons both young old and in between were greeted by the CHASE team and a host of partners as they sought to avail themselves of the sterling opportunity to do blood pressure, blood sugar, haemoglobin and cardio screenings (ECG) as well as body mass index (BMI), dental checks and vision screening among others, all carried out by doctors and other approved health professionals. Jamaica Mental Health Advocacy Network/UWI- Caribbean Institute for Health Research offered mental acuity tests.
On the grounds itself, the activity kept pace with the work being done in the testing and screening rooms, with community members and visitors being provided with the latest information on optimizing heart health and other vital issues. Corporate entities, including Continental Baking Company (National), LASCO, Life Enhancement Inc were on hand with welcome samples of their well-known products and financial entity Sagicor also presented its health and life insurance offerings.
An individual volunteer of some interest was Dr. Melissa Lalah, who recalled receiving a lifeline in the form of a CHASE Fund scholarship – the week before her final medical school exams. “The CHASE Fund answered my prayers, as I had sent out applications to various institutions seeking financial assistance.”
Now a proud medical practitioner, Dr. Lalah said participating in an event like the Sherlock Community Health Fair was essential for her, as she desired to give back and assist others. “It’s important for me to be here and to give of my time and training. I welcome the opportunity and again thank the CHASE Fund for this initiative.” Amid her various activities, the young medic is looking to advance into a specialization in Obstetrics/Gynaecology (Ob/Gyn) and to help reduce the incidence of non-communicable diseases affecting pregnant women in particular.
Fittingly, there was also entertainment on the day in the form of local community talent, including a talented female vocalist, sprightly young dancers, the next generation of football stars, and the poetics of the curiously-named “Soupbone” who immediately gained the favourable attention of the audience with his catchy social commentary.
In addition to the aforementioned participants, the Fair benefitted greatly from the presence of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica; the Diabetes Association of Jamaica; the Jamaica Society for the Blind, the School of Dentistry at the University of the West Indies, and a dedicated, capable and cheerful team of community volunteers, who altogether made the day’s proceedings a worthwhile and successful venture.