A popular council worker has returned to Peterborough after helping hospitals and young people in Ghana - thanks to the generosity of local businesses and people.
Ernest Mensah-Sekyere, who is well-known as the senior beadle at Peterborough City Council Town Hall, has a continuing mission to help appreciative people from his home country by providing them with clothing, equipment and other items.
The recipients included young pupils and teachers and staff and patients at the Afrancho Health Centre in Ashanti Region, who received donations of four wheelchairs.
The hospital’s services had suffered for years with just one wheelchair, restricting the options for severely sick patients and expectant mothers to see their doctors.
Ernest said: “I started this project because after many years in Europe, I thought about how to assist the youth in Ghana by giving them something to help themselves.
“After sharing my ideas and dreams with a few friends, I wanted to encourage the Ghanaian children in literacy and health by promoting sports and sending items like books and computers across to them.
“The idea progressed after a discussion with the Unison branch officers who first supported me with jerseys. This was followed by support from the organisers of the Perkins Great Eastern Run (PGER) team who gave me race jerseys and football kits, for some schools in the Ashanti region.
“Here in the UK, many things are thrown away, causing huge waste mountains which destroy the ecosystem of the environment – when they could be reused in Ghana or parts of Africa.
“Last year before the death of my mum I had a terrible experience at the local hospital in Ghana, when my mother had to lie down on the floor in pain, due to a lack of beds and wheelchairs. I started a campaign on my return to the UK, and with the help of my ward councillor, John Fox, I was connected to people who could help me transport used wheelchairs to Ghana.”
Ernest thanked Councillor Fox, the team at PGER, UNISON - Peterborough branch, founder and Chief Executive Officer of FOCUS (Search and Selection) Charles Walker at Baston Junior Football Club and the trustees of Buckles Solicitors. These all helped with various donations such as football kits, shirts and administration costs.
Ernest added: “I have just began this mission, and people are getting the message slowly. I don’t think it would be right to stop now, for there are people in the rural areas who can benefit a lot from the used medical equipment or the jerseys to motivate them into sporting activities to eliminate weakness and laziness.
“I will be glad if many people can join me or support me to make this a big thing, as all help could be put to use. There are already existing well-known international charity organisations helping out, but not everything sent out reaches the poor people in my area, and that was one of my reasons for starting this project.”