Recognising significance in our community clubs
As a young man growing up in the Southampton area, our community was always together in all we did, whether it was birthday parties, youth fundraisers or attending sporting events at Rangers.
For myself and most of my peers, Southampton Rangers Sports Club was always the hub of our world. I can vividly remember walking over the hill for training as a youngster on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and my mother entrusting my safety to the coaching staff and senior players. We were learning different tricks of the trade from elders and watching games from the pavilion. These things cemented that this was not simply a building; for us, this was and remains “our home”.
Without a doubt, watching and playing with the greats such as Janeiro Tucker (Mr Cup Match), Olin Jones, Ricky Brangman, Clevie Wade and Ryan Belboda, and being coached as a youth by Randy Raynor helped to forge my generation into the men and fathers that we are today.
You see, these great men and many more did not just teach me about sport. More importantly, they introduced the true values of life. The conversations and lessons taught to me in that changing room and on the field will remain for ever a part of why I became the person I am today. With great pride, they helped to mentor me to become club president between 2016 and 2020.
All around Bermuda, we can see this story repeated at other community clubs that have guided young persons from being players on the field to sitting on the club executive. Some prime examples are Devarr Boyles, of Western Stars Sports Club, Neil Paynter, of St George’s Cricket Club, Richard Scott, of Somerset Cricket Club, and Nadine Henry, of Devonshire Recreation Club. These clubs are not just the backbone of our communities, but they set the template for the next generation of island leadership.
In my more recent role as a Member of Parliament for Constituency 30, Southampton East Central, one of my driving passions has been to be a part of the teams that help to give much needed assistance to these community clubs.
On three separate occasions — August 2020, December 2020 and March 2021 — we delivered this aid via capital development grants, along with grants from the Confiscated Assets Fund to support youth programme after a “chat and chew” event held last July.
A total of $714,922 for capital development assistance has been allocated to various community clubs thus far. Additionally, $68,700 has been made available from the Confiscated Assets Fund in support of numerous youth programmes.
Your Progressive Labour Party government is committed to ensuring that community clubs remain a cornerstone of our community, and this investment represents our commitment.
Once again, I would like to thank all of the elders of Southampton for grooming my generation into the men and women that we are today. You have laid the foundation for us. It is now our turn to continue your legacy of leadership.
Once a Ranger, never a stranger.
•Jason Wade is a government backbencher and the MP for Southampton East Central (Constituency 30)