Call for public to help in at-risk areas
Organisers of events in areas at risk of gang violence called on the public to back them yesterday.
Desmond Crockwell, of Youthvision Promotions, and Lynwood Richardson, of Soul Food Promotions, said they needed more sponsors to help their work in neighbourhoods affected by violence.
The latest event on Saturday was a Family Fun Day at Parsons Road playground featuring video games, giveaways, music, a martial arts demonstration and football games.
Mr Crockwell said: “Everyone that came through was very receptive and very warming to us. They came by and they all thanked us and said we need more of this. They also came up with a couple of ideas.
“We could have had more attractions like fun castles and barbecues, which is something we are working towards next time because we believe people are now catching on that this is what’s needed.”
But Mr Crockwell added the cost of events and the provision of more activities are expensive.
He said: “It’s also like the third or fourth event we’ve had this summer. We can ask people to volunteer but only for so long.”
Mr Crockwell explained that Mr Richardson, also known as Brotha Richie, approached him to help him to promote and host Saturday’s event.
He said: “Lynwood had previously put on an event in the Parsons Road playground.
“He chooses at-risk areas because our purpose is to revitalise the area and to draw away from some of the connotations that are attached to the area.
“The purpose of it was positive impact in the community and in the environment.
“We definitely showed people that we are serious about our social responsibility and really getting to, and connecting to, the people in the area.”
Mr Richardson added that while they are both entrepreneurs, not charities, promoting events that bring the community together is part of their business model.
He said they have both been doing this for more than a decade and have invested a lot of their own resources, which was “having an effect”.
Mr Crockwell said the two would invite community members to attend the event to get involved and help make the family days bigger and better.
He added: “These neighbourhoods have so many good people and so many good vibes that the minute something happens, it can mess up the whole perception of the neighbourhood.
“If we have a positive event or activity in a neighbourhood, it can highlight just how positive it can be and is.”
Mr Crockwell, whose company publishes the Visionz magazine, works with “at risk” young people and he was happy to see some come out on Saturday.
He said: “It was wonderful to have them come on board and actually speak with me about some stuff they want to do and some concerns.
“My objective is if I can reach just one, that’s success because it’s not easy to reach out to even one.”
Mr Crockwell said only the Progressive Labour Party responded and pledged $200 towards the event, despite approaches to several potential sponsors.
He added: “I respect the fact that they even responded. So I went into our Youthvision Promotion’s kitty and got what we had to do because in the end it’s on us, the companies, to make it work.
He added: “We would love to sit down with any company that is interested in community revitalisation. We need the support.”
Mr Crockwell said he exchanged support for adverts in his magazine, online and at events.
He added: “This is a form of social responsibility for us when we put on these events. We don’t do it for moneymaking purposes.
“We’re not just looking for funding and then we run off into thin air.
“We’re actually promoting these companies as equally social responsible or socially conscious as we are because we need the companies in order to keep these events going.”
Mr Crockwell said that while this was likely the last family fun day of the year, the pair organise other types of event.
Youthvision Promotions will hold an anti-violence event on October 21 at Gospel Hall in Hamilton Parish.
The pair also hosted an event at Cedar Park earlier this month and worked with Michael Doucet, who has been featured in the Visionz magazine for turning his life around.
Mr Crockwell said: “When we were at Cedar Park we actually had a young man come from off of the hill and off the wall and assist in some of the manning of the activities.
“That was a joy and a success story within itself which speaks volumes to the impact that it can make once we are consistent with it.”
And he added that regular events would also help draw more people and increase trust in the initiative.
Mr Crockwell said: “If we have funds available we can put these events on because we do it out of our hearts and we will definitely be there.”
• For more information, contact Desmond Crockwell on 337-7786 or Lynwood Richardson on 703-4896
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