On 18 January, Belvedere School in Benoni officially unveiled its new fitness park which was made possible by a donation from SAIRAC Johannesburg last year.
The R50 000 donation was raised during the South African Institute of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (SAIRAC) Johannesburg centre’s 2018 golf day and put to good use by the beneficiary, Belvedere School.
Happy faces all around at the opening, from left are: Dr André Bosch, Grant Laidlaw, Jaco Pieterse and Anneté Nel.
Belvedere School works with learners who experience various scholastic difficulties including cognitive handicaps, development difficulties such as ADHD, anxiety, anger management problems, autism, as well as physical difficulties such as cerebral palsy.
During the official opening on 18 January, Anneté Nel, a therapist at the school and driver of the project, explained that the school has dreamed of having a fitness park for many years. They have become more aware of the fact that their learners have poor muscle tone and hope that the fitness park will help to change it.
“Research suggests that exercise is not only beneficial for gaining physical strength and muscle control, but we know that physical activities can be useful in addition to traditional behavioural interventions to lead to improvements in symptoms, behaviours and optimal well-being for individuals with development difficulties,” said Nel at the opening.
“Research has indicated, that if implemented appropriately, the addition of physical activity to the traditional intervention programme can help overcome many challenges like limited motor functioning, low motivation, depression and anxiety as well.”
Learners at Belvedere School try out the new fitness park.
SAIRAC was thanked repeatedly for making this fitness centre a reality and Grant Laidlaw (immediate past president) and Jaco Pieterse (Johannesburg centre chairman) were present during the opening.
Previously, the space was unused and filled with rubble and dirt. But today, in its place, stands a fully equipped fitness park with various activities for the students to partake in. During the opening, students tried out the equipment with the help of their teachers.
The students themselves also go involved in the project and assisted in constructing the fence and cultivating the garden. It all came together beautifully with the help of a few other sponsors too.
Dr André Bosch, head of the therapy centre, also said a few words and thanked SAIRAC and Nel. He explained that an assessment will be done to determine which learners can benefit from occupational therapy.
“SAIRAC Johannesburg chooses a beneficiary on an annual basis and Belvedere School was chosen in 2018 as they offer some technical training which could potentially feed into and benefit the HERVAC industry,” said Laidlaw.
“This was one of the rare instances where the results of the donation were clearly evident and was put to good use,” said Laidlaw. “SAIRAC members can be proud to have contributed to this good cause.”
It was a joyous day for all and an exciting new chapter in the school’s history.