The Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) management has refuted an article which appeared in yesterday’s Daily Mail newspaper alleging that the centre had started charging children who were using its facilities.
OYDC executive director Clement Chileshe told a media briefing yesterday that it was sad that the author of the article “misrepresented the facts with reckless disregard” of verifying the information he had and went ahead to publish the article without realising the damage it would cause to the reputation of the institution.
Chileshe explained that at no time did the centre charge the children for using the facilities and that the centre had gone beyond just making the facilities accessible to the public by providing clothing and refreshments to the children who visited the centre.
He said that the centre was open to the public from Monday to Friday at no cost while only those who booked the facilities during weekends were charged in order to raise funds for maintaining the centre.
“We don’t get money from anyone and we have managed to maintain this centre so very well from monies such as those we get from those who book the centre over the weekend and corporate institutions which have partnered with us such as Zamtel. This centre is open to all the children in the surrounding communities and sometimes we go an extra mile to even clothe these children who come here to swim because some of them come in tatters and sometimes we even provide refreshments for them.
“But on the corporate side, we have those who come over the weekend and book these facilities and those are the people we charge because we need money to run this centre,” Chileshe said.
He said OYDC was surprised that the newspaper failed to find out the truth before publishing a story
Yesterday, the Daily Mail said the OYDC was preventing children from the surrounding areas from accessing the centre as they were being turned back for failing to pay for the facilities.
The article claimed that children could not even watch professional games taking place at the centre or participate in sporting activities without having to pay, claims Chileshe dismissed as false and wondered why Banda rushed to publish the article without consulting the OYDC management.