JN Sports Club Organises Help to Provide Elderly St Thomas Resident with New Home


    “I feel so good,” uttered 64-year-old resident of Leith Hall, St Thomas, Beverly Mattison, as she watched scores of volunteers beautify the walls of her new home on Labour Day 2023.

    It’s been more than three years since she has had a place to call her own, but that will soon change, courtesy of the JN Sports and Social Club (JNSSC), which, with the assistance of the JN Foundation, and support from the Rotaract Club of Kingston, Rotaract Club of New Kingston and Kingston-based restaurant, Uncorked, made finishing touches to the elderly resident’s new home. She’s expected to move into the new structure in June, with a special church service being planned to mark the occasion.

    Situated in the close-knit community of Pleasant Walk, Ms Mattison’s new, modern concrete dwelling is a major improvement over her previous pink-coated, board structure, which had become unliveable. The majority of the work has now been completed and, in addition to a bedroom, she can boast about also having a bathroom, kitchen and a living room.

    “I am overjoyed and thankful because when I was in the board house I had to bathe and cook outside, so I am feeling very happy to get this new home. There is more space and I will feel more secure once inside,” Ms Mattison shared.

    Work on the new structure started just before the onset of COVID-19 in 2020 and was made possible through donations sought and organised by president of JNSSC, Jamar Howell. He had met Ms Mattison while working at JN Bank in the St Thomas capital, Morant Bay. “She would always bring bananas to the branch,” he recalled.

    “One day I had to make a visit to her home and seeing how she lived impacted me so much that I decided to do something about it. I made an appeal for donations on WhatsApp and over $3 million was raised there,” he said.

    In total, Mr Howell said approximately $4 million dollars in donations were received and used to construct the home and outfit it with modern fixtures. The windows on the new building were donated by the Rotaract Club of New Kingston and on Labour Day, volunteers from that service club, along with members of the Rotaract Club of Kingston and Kingston-based restaurant, Uncorked, joined the JNSSC and JN Foundation to paint the home.

    For the Rotaract clubs, giving back to communities remains a key part of their mission and for its membership, partnering on the Labour Day activity was a no-brainer. President of the Rotaract Club of Kingston, Toni-Moy Stewart, described it as “a worthy cause,” while for one member of the New Kingston club, Nicketa Watson, the experience was rewarding, especially because they were assisting to transform someone’s environment.

    Sharing a similar sentiment, marketing and communications officer at Uncorked, Robyn-Kay Campbell, added that “for anyone coming from less space to this, it is a blessing in disguise so we were happy to help out in any way we could.”

    Over the past three years, the JNSSC also received support from the Jamaica Biscuit Company, several JN Group employees, and independent building contractors from as far as Spanish Town, St Catherine, to construct the new house for Ms Mattison.

    The elderly St Thomas resident, who has been living at a temporary accommodation elsewhere in the parish since her old house was demolished, will be able to call the new structure home in a few weeks.

    “It is with pride that we at the JN Group have been able to help another member to find their way and achieve their purpose,” Mr Howell expressed. “I know she has been very anxious to come back home because she has her neighbours and family around this area and she was really displaced to another community for a while,” he added.

    Corporate banking specialist at JN Bank and JNSCC Vice President (Social), Michelle Webster Gauntlette, who was also among the Labour Day volunteers, declared that “it’s always a good feeling when we reach out to the community we serve in this way because it shows that JN is here to assist when needed.”

    A comfortable house can be a great source of happiness and Beverly Mattison sees it as her start to a better way of life. She’s already planning to furnish the new space in phases and add decorative elements based on her own desires.

    “I like nice pretty things, including flowers and I can’t wait to move in to fix up the place how I want it,” she said.

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