2017: Reflecting on small victories and big impact

In 2005 the Cape Town City Council approved a City Improvement District in Woodstock, and property owners rallied together to gather levies to fund it. Their efforts were successful, and the Woodstock Improvement District (WID) was formed.

Our mission is to “administer the area with dedicated, effective management, provide supplementary services to those already afforded by the City of Cape Town, and co-ordinate the provision of a well-maintained, safer, cleaner and greener environment for those who work, visit and invest in Woodstock.”

Looking back on 2017, we have made considerable progress in these areas, particularly in the fields of security and social work. Resident social worker Abigail Abrahams has led the campaign to assist the underprivileged community and affected much change in the area.

Abby has been integral in the practical aspects of helping those in need. She walks the streets to connect with people and learn about their needs. She has also established a working relationship with the WID drivers who refer her to areas where she is needed, based on their experiences on the ground.

In 2017, Abby assisted roughly 30 people every 2 weeks. She provided help in a number of areas – a typical week included providing advice and support with ID document processes, grant applications, typing up of CVs and just lending a sympathetic ear.

In one case, she was crucial in the repatriation of a minor with her family. She referred a 15-year-old girl, who had been sleeping on the street for 3 days, to the Department of Social Development. Thanks to this connection, the girl was then reunited with her relatives and returned home.

We are meticulous about detailing the activity of social work. The records for this year show a demonstrable impact on the community. These figures are hugely encouraging, and have informed a continued commitment to work in this necessary field over the coming years.

Another top priority in the area is security. The WID security team, in conjunction with the SAPS, have successfully apprehended criminals across many fields this year, including illegal squatters, thieves, illegal gamblers and substance distributors. The security team report suspicious behaviour and document the hotspots to help identify and arrest those who commit illegal acts.

Our security officers also went above and beyond to assist in the putting out of fires this year. This occurred 6 times one month according to an updated security report. The WID team is united by an ability to take initiative while showing care for the community and delivering their services with consistency.

Our goals for the following five years as laid out by our business plan read as follows:

– Keep Woodstock a clean and safe commercial area

– Maintain and improve working relationships with local authorities and essential service providers

– Provide innovative management of the area

– Lower the local crime rate

– Be sensitive to our social responsibilities

– Market Woodstock and preserve district identity

This seems idyllic, but is it possible in reality? The information about impact this year suggests these goals are achievable! For example, just this year, WID officers have prevented crime by providing an officer as a crime deterrent in numerous cases.

After reflecting on many separate social and security cases handled by the members of our team, we can say with confidence that if current standards are maintained, Woodstock should continue to go from strength to strength as a secure place for businesses and communities to flourish for years to come.

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