Thu | Oct 1, 2020

JCA supports cricketers through PSOJ fund

Published:Thursday | August 6, 2020 | 12:15 AM
Shelly-Ann Lawson Francis (left), executive director of the Council of Voluntary Social Services, presents one of the food and care packages to O’Neil Cruikshank, cricket operations and development manager at the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA). The JC
Shelly-Ann Lawson Francis (left), executive director of the Council of Voluntary Social Services, presents one of the food and care packages to O’Neil Cruikshank, cricket operations and development manager at the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA). The JCA received a total of 50 packages through the PSOJ COVID-19 Jamaica Response Fund to support cricketers who have been adversely impacted by the pandemic.

The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) has come to the support of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) through its ongoing PSOJ COVID-19 Jamaica Response Fund, which continues to make a difference in several sectors of society.

Recently, the PSOJ fund provided food packages to current and former cricketers, including youth and female teams. To date, the PSOJ COVID-19 fund has raised a total of J$190 million (J$131 million in cash and J$59 million in in-kind donations) in support of Jamaica’s most vulnerable during the pandemic.

Shelly-Ann Lawson Francis, executive director of the Council of Voluntary Social Services (CVSS), a partner in the multisectoral fund, pointed out that this special outreach effort underlined the flexibility of the fund’s approach.

“Sports persons have been particularly affected, as sports is the way they earn their money. They were not initially flagged as a vulnerable group when the COVID-19 outbreak began,” observed Lawson Francis. “They were not immediately on our radar when COVID hit, but they came out and approached us. The flexibility that has been built into the programme is a great indicator of why we continue to do what we’re doing.” When the JCA approached the fund, the need was recognised.

Seek support

Cricket operations and development manager at the JCA, O’Neil Cruikshank, is responsible for the welfare of Jamaican cricketers. He explained that when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, the association saw the need to seek support for players who were significantly affected.

“Women were especially affected, as many are not engaged in working life,” said Cruikshank, adding that they would usually receive stipends and funding for tours, match fees, and so on.

“It hit them hard. When we learned of the PSOJ fund, we were so glad to be a part of it. We selected team members that were in training at the time for support.”

These included members of the national senior female team, the Under-15 male and Under-19 female teams, and selected former cricketers and administrators. As a result of the donations, the JCA was able to continue to assist the cricketers whose income had been reduced.

“For the Under-15s, we targeted the parents, as we knew COVID-19 was a challenge for them,” added Cruikshank. “They were very appreciative of this effort.”

“We at the PSOJ are very pleased to support our sports people, especially our youth teams. They contribute so much to our national life,” said PSOJ President Keith Duncan.

Commenting on the impact of the fund up to July 23, 2020, he noted: “We have delivered 51,647 food packages to 47 communities and 58,658 vulnerable Jamaicans have benefited from cash and in-kind donations from 107 local donors and 916 overseas donors. We have supported 32 non-governmental organisations and have completed 536 health checks for citizens.

We are grateful

“What is more, we have mobilised 1,143 volunteers, who have contributed 23,400 volunteer hours. We have had an excellent response and we are grateful to all our partners for their collaboration. We have lived up to our motto, ‘Together We Will’!”

The PSOJ COVID-19 Jamaica Response Fund is a multisectoral partnership with Council of Voluntary Social Services; the United Way of Jamaica (UWJ), American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ), and other key stakeholders.

The fund welcomes the support of all Jamaicans, both locally and in the diaspora, and all friends of Jamaica. Donations can be made through various channels.

Locally, individuals or companies that prefer to make wire transfers are asked to do so through the CVSS Account at National Commercial Bank (NCB) chequeing account number 061052429.

Alternatively, companies and/or individuals can use the CVSS USD account at JMMB – 006000181484

Persons living overseas and would like to donate using their credit card can visit www.theafj.org. Alternatively, US-based cheques may also be sent to the AFJ so long as the purpose of the donation is noted on the document.

Once donations are channelled through AFJ, companies and individuals based in the US will be able to receive the added benefit of a 501 c (3) tax allowance.