Christmas came early at the Fiat Sports Grounds in Soweto today, when Fiat Auto South Africa and CTM handed over a state-of-the-art playground to the children of the surrounding community.

Born out of Fiat’s commitment to improve and develop the social lives of young people in the community, the Fiat Sports Grounds were initially founded in 2003.

Within a period of only six months, a soccer field equipped with an automated irrigation system was complete, while in 2005 fully tiled change rooms were added. At the end of April 2006 an eight-lane athletics track, a basketball court, two volleyball courts, and two Netball Courts were added to the Grounds.

With Christmas just around the corner Fiat Auto South Africa took the opportunity to give something back to the community by facilitating the erecting of a playground area for the young children residing in the area.

“Albert Mokwena originally envisaged the idea, after we witnessed children playing in the area. They had no proper playground and would play with tyres and other unsuitable and some times dangerous equipment,” explained Giorgio Gorelli, Director of Fiat Auto South Africa. “We then decided to erect a playground for them as an extension of the existing facilities at the Fiat Sports Grounds.”

“Together with Giovanni Ravazotti, CEO of CTM we came up with the funds to acquire equipment for the play area, while Sarando Moutzoures of Metallica assisted with the instillation of the swing sets and slides and also donated an additional swing set.”

The new play ground was handed over to the community on 21 December, to the delight of the local children who came out in their droves to play on the swings, slides and seesaws that had been erected.

“We were delighted to be able to assist in this project,” added Sarando Moutzoures of Metallica. “The reward was definitely seeing the children’s reaction when they were told they could go and enjoy their new play ground.”

In addition to giving something back to the children of the community Fiat Auto South Africa also assisted by providing additional work to 30 members of the community in the week leading up to Christmas.

“We needed to do some maintenance work on the sports fields,” continued Mr. Gorelli. “We decided to recruit 30 members of the community to assist with this project giving them the opportunity to generate additional income in the lead up to Christmas.”

The new playground will be open to all children of the community, who will be able to play and socialise in a safe and enjoyable environment.

“We would like to thank all those who have assisted in putting this project together, specifically our co-sponsors CTM as well as Metallica who did a fantastic job delivering and erecting the equipment. We would also like to say thank you to the community who have supported and made use of the Fiat Sports Grounds over the years. We hope that the new playground will bring many hours of joy to the young children of the area,” concluded Mr. Gorelli.