Save our furry friends!

August blog WID save our furry friends

Milan Kundera, a French writer, once said: “Humanity’s true moral test, its fundamental test… consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy – animals.”

In recent months there has been an increase in the incidents of animal abuse and cruelty across the board. We have seen and heard stories and footage on television and social media where animals are being killed and tortured and neglected, left to fend for themselves on the streets and try to survive against the odds.

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Abigail Abrahams – A hero in our midst

Abigail Abrahams - A hero in our midst

Abigail Abrahams  – a household name at the Woodstock Improvement District  – has long since been an advocate for the underprivileged, the downtrodden and the hopeless. Her work in the community is extraordinary and so we caught up with her for a quick chat to find out a little more.

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WID Winter Warmers

WID Winter Warmers

Winter is officially in full swing and we are anticipating many more cold, dark and damp days ahead. We also know that there are men, women and children suffering on the streets during this time that could greatly benefit from a small act of kindness – so why not keep the heat in and the cold out this winter by spreading the love becoming involved in these heart-warming initiatives in the Woodstock community and its surroundings.

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Help St Anne’s help others

WID St Annes

WID St Anne’s

Women and children are among the most vulnerable in our community and in society at large. As a community focused organisation, WID is committed to assisting entities that support those in need.

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Support our sustainable employment initiative

WID Sponsor a homeless person

Those familiar with the work of the Woodstock Improvement District (WID) will know that our official mandate is to provide top-up cleaning and security services to the Woodstock community.

More than that, we’re committed to serving and supporting the community in practical ways. This includes finding sustainable ways of addressing poverty, unemployment and homelessness.

One of the successful ways that we’ve managed to do this is in partnership with Khulisa Social Solutions, a non-profit organisation working to empower and enable vulnerable communities to unlock their potential and develop skills towards a sustainable future.

The premise of the partnership is to take people off the streets of Woodstock and give them a job, typically in cleaning, for which they earn a monthly stipend of R3000. We have countless success stories that demonstrate how having a job and earning an income gives people a sense of purpose and security, which has a knock-on effect on other social problems within the community.

We want to get more people off the streets, working and with a sense of dignity. But in order to do this we need financial support.

Please consider helping just one person off the street with a monthly contribution of R3000. The orientation process is managed entirely by WID and Khulisa, with no further expectations from business, except the benefit of working and living in a safer, more resilient community.

With your help we can empower people and create more resilient communities, and as such we kindly urge you to consider getting involved.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions or queries on 021 462 7321 or info@wid.co.za

From us to you – our deepest thanks to our contributors

“Nothing else in all life is such a maker of joy and cheer as the privilege of doing good.” — James Russell Miller

As we approach the giving time of the festive season, we are reminded of all the generous donations we receive from various role players in the community. This article is dedicated to thanking just a couple of those whose contributions have helped make our events successful.

KwikSpar Boulevard and Balmoral Supermarket

This thank you is slightly overdue, as our local KwikSpar has been helping us since last year. In June 2017 we hosted a holiday programme and had the mammoth task of feeding over 100 children. KwikSpar generously sponsored 200 hot dog rolls, all of which fed hungry mouths!

This year they paired with Balmoral Supermarket to support our Mandela Day event for the homeless in the Woodstock area. Both of these stores provided soup and bread for attendees. The food was a welcome gift and allowed us to serve and connect with the most vulnerable in our city.

The Mandela Day initiative in Town Hall park was of particular importance due to the focus of the event: health and wellness for the homeless. An HIV and TB awareness talk was given, and testing was provided along with items to promote safe sex. Due to the KwikSpar’s generous donation, we were also able to feed many people, including children.

Sir Fruit

We are so grateful to this quirky local fresh juice brand for their donation of almost 300 bottles of iced tea for our holiday program this year. After a day of games and fun the children were thirsty, and so grateful for a healthy tasty quencher!

We use our termly holiday programme to entertain and educate kids in the area while they are on school holiday. The iced tea was delicious and went well with the hearty lunches of macaroni and cheese which fuelled the kids as they played, listened to educational talks and had outings to various departments.

Once again, thank you so much to these businesses for their generosity. Without your help we may not have been able to host such successful events.

Our social officer Abby shares that she has been blown away by the generosity of the businesses and is so grateful for their support. “What to say? I would like to thank the sponsors for the donations toward our holiday programmes, health days for the homeless and Nelson Mandela Day this year,” she says. “I wish these organisations all the best over the festive season and New Year. I hope to keep our relationship strong and on-going – there are many new projects ahead!”

If you, or your business, would like to make a difference in the community, our social projects are the right place to start. Whether through donating food to our holiday funds or sponsoring someone with a monthly stipend to get them back on their feet, we can help you contribute to positive change. Our social officer Abby will gladly discuss your options and explain exactly how your donations would be distributed to help those that need it most.

Abigail Abrahams/ Social Officer:
Tel: 082 611 0591

Spring happenings in Woodstock

Everyone who comes into contact with us at WID will have the pleasure of knowing our resident social officer Abigail Abrahams, affectionately known as Abby. She has been part of our team for years and has the eyes and ears that drive social development in the area.

We caught up with her on the cusp of the spring season to get a fresh perspective on growth and plans in Woodstock.

WID: First things first, can you explain in your own words why we do what we do? If someone doesn’t know anything about the WID, how would you describe it?

Abby: I would say the reasoning is that we want a safer, cleaner and more environmentally friendly Woodstock. We want the community to visit and enjoy the area, and for people to come and invest in the future so that the area can develop and reach its full potential.

 

WID: Why do you do what you do?

Abby: I really enjoy helping the less fortunate, especially women and children. I work with the homeless on a regular basis and this poses major challenges but also beautiful moments. I am humbled by the way homeless people can turn over a new leaf and start over if they choose. Those that are willing can change their lives, and it is so rewarding to be a part of that journey.

 

WID: That is such an inspiring thing to hear. How has 2018 been so far?

Abby: To be honest, it’s been tough. This year has had many challenges, but I guess if there aren’t any, how will one be able to open the next door? Or start the next chapter? I don’t believe anything comes easily.

WID: What projects from this year would you mark as a particular success?

Abby: The ID project, where we assisted a number of homeless people to attain their identity documents, ran very successfully. Many people are asking if I am going to do it again, as it really helped those in need. I will seriously consider implementing it again early in the new year.

 

WID: What new projects are you preparing for?

Abby: I am planning the agenda for the new year at the moment …you will just have to wait and see what happens! This year our annual holiday project is due to happen soon and we continue to run our gardening project on a month to month basis. We are still encouraging businesses to invest, so hopefully we will be able to end off the year on a good note.

 

WID: Would you tell us a little about the holiday programme? Who is involved and what is the project about?

Abby: The Holiday program starts on 1st October and runs until the 5th. It is for kids in the area that need to be kept busy and off the streets during school holidays. SAPS, Woodstock Library, City of Cape Town, the Water and Sanitation department and Blue Ribbon bread are all role players that will be involved in making the day a success. I am also preparing for the December holiday program to make sure we are ready in time.

 

WID: Is there anything important you would like to leave the public with?

Abby: I really would like the businesses and the community to give responsibly. Please give directly to a shelter or NGO in the Woodstock area. You can donate food, blankets or even clothes. Giving directly to a homeless person, although well intentioned, enables them to stay on the street for another day or week, which is longer than anyone should.

 

I also want to request that businesses do not encourage homeless people to sleep on their property or give them permission to build shacks. Again, this is done with the best intentions but it will become an embedded problem that the we, as the Woodstock Improvement District, will have to deal with at a later stage.

It is also unfair to the person to ask them to leave the property after they have been there without disturbance for a while. If a structure appears on your property, please contact our control room immediately on 021 462 1205.

We want to help integrate people into society, and for Woodstock to become the best that it can be!

A team that plays together stays together – WID’s annual teambuilding event

At WID, we’re a family. We support and challenge one another to do the best work possible. We are united by a love of Woodstock and the community. We believe in giving our all and working hard – but we also believe in having some serious fun!

Last week we decided that it was time to explore our playful side again. The entire WID team, along with our service providers, Essential Cleaning and Securitas, participated in a few team building activities to build some bridges and strengthen relationships. The activities were put together by Team Building Activities and Events to facilitate a day of bonding and raising team spirit.

Our administrator Nicola Welby-Solomons was pleasantly surprised by the commitment demonstrated from everyone involved. “I am very proud to say that we certainly have an amazing group of people working to keep Woodstock great. They are not only dedicated but I never knew they were so competitive!” she said, laughing. “It was really great to see all the different sides to our colleagues.”

The team was divided into four groups and participated in cooperation and outcome-based exercises to achieve a shared goal. Unsurprisingly, as the day wore on, many participants realised the importance of a supportive team to meet goals.

Officer Ndlovu, “Foot Papa” at the WID (Securitas), was humbled by a seemingly simple activity. “When we played memory lane, I was motivating my whole team and showed them where all the blocks were to get to the other side, but when I was alone I had to remember all the blocks on my own, and that made me realise why I need a team.”

After this, there were also a few heated rounds of “minute to win it” activities. These mildly ridiculous exercises saw individual team members threading raw pasta onto a kebab stick in under a minute – using only their mouths!

Despite the silliness of some games, participants showed resilience and enthusiasm at every turn – there was certainly no letting up from any of the teams. After all of that activity, the team was looking forward to a hearty meal, and were not disappointed. Oor die Kole Spit Braai and Catering did a magnificent job. Their lunch was delicious and the service splendid.

It was a wonderful experience for the teams, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Officer Poni, the Supervisor for Securitas at WID, went so far as to say that it was by far the best function that we have had. The feedback from the Law Enforcement Team can be summed up in the words of Officer Gaidien; “I just want to say thank you for an amazing day with you WID, Securitas and Essential. You guys are awesome.”

In keeping with the spirit of the event, we want to thank all of those who made this amazing day possible. A special thank you to the Board of Directors and management for providing us with this opportunity to get to know each other outside the usual working environments.

Thank you to Woodstock Community Church for providing us with a venue for free, it met our needs exactly. Thanks also to Team Building Activities and Events for hosting an amazing day of activity, we truly appreciated your commitment to facilitating an atmosphere of fun and making sure that nobody felt left out.

Finally, we would like to thank each and every WID team member who attended. We are so proud to have you as part of the team and look forward to many more years of serving together.

Bloomlane – a garden in the city

We are proud to announce that Woodstock is home to a number of projects which allow residents to engage in the process of local renovation and renewal. Our mission is to improve the area sustainably, from the roots up.

One of the projects that we are achieving this vision through is the pilot project collaboration with Streetscapes, where homeless people are given the opportunity to tend gardens and sell the produce for profit. This project served as a catalyst for other developmental projects in the area which have the potential to change the social and physical landscape of Woodstock.

The most recent of these innovations is the transformation of Hanwell Lane into an urban garden which will benefit the community.

What is the project about?

The project aims to create an urban food garden in Hanwell Lane, Woodstock. The garden will give people the techniques and space to grow fresh produce for feeding programmes. It will also be an area where community members can support one another through interaction and skill sharing. The main aim is to create a productive environment to empower the community. The hope is that this model will be applied in other suburbs throughout Cape Town.

What prompted the project?

The project was born out of the vision of Mr Graeme Allen. He lives next to Hanwell Lane and was frustrated by the level of vandalism and illegal dumping of waste in the street. He refused to believe this was the only option, and obtained a lease for Hanwell Lane to establish a community garden.

Mr Allen then spent six months communicating with other residents and the City Roads and Planning department to create a plan. This blueprint was then shared with homeowners in Roodebloem Road, Roberts Road, Beacontree Lane and Hillyard Street where local support was harvested. Eventually an agreement was signed by many local residents to turn Hanwell Lane into a community garden.

Who are the stakeholders?

This project is an example of what can be achieved in a community through collaboration. Mr. Allen has garnered support from invested partnership who are willing to see the project through to the end.

Connective Collective (CC) – a collection of people who provide platforms for sustainable community engagement. Their goal is to facilitate citizens in building communities that live in harmony with the earth.

Guerilla House – an urban permaculture training platform that educates and equips citizens using affordable regenerative technologies. They specialise in creating and running organic food gardens, water harvesting, soil building, animal systems, mushroom cultivation, grey water systems, alternative building technologies and waste regeneration.

Community – people living between Hilyard and Salisbury Streets, Roodebloem and Roberts Roads, and those that use Hanwell Lane for thoroughfare. They are encouraged to take ownership of the lane and invest where possible so that they can benefit from it flourishing.

Contributors – property owners neighbouring Hanwell Lane have contributed to the cost of gates and the further development of the project.

Woodstock Improvement District (WID) – we aim to utilise the community garden project to extend our social outreach programme.

Woodstock Residents Association​ (WRA) – facilitates engagement between local authorities and residents living in Woodstock. They provide a platform to share information, discuss differences and solve problems in the community.

 

What is the vision for this community project?

The ideal outcome is a community garden that benefits all who live and work in the neighbourhood. The lane will serve as a meeting space where people can interact, educational workshops can be held and resiliency skills can be obtained by anyone who would like to learn.

The partners are aware of the challenges this public space may encounter, and there are discussions underway on how best to approach potential problems. If you would like to view the vision for this project please contact ConnectiveCollective through one of the Public Participation Process (PPP) channels (see below) and we will forward you the full proposal. Feedback, both for and against, is welcomed as we would like to understand and communicate the community’s views.

Below are the various PPP channels that can be utilised to voice opinions or ask further questions about the project:

  • The email address hanwellgarden@gmail.com (which will also be displayed in the lane).
  • A post box in the lane for residents to hand write and deliver your views.
  • A telephone number, which residents can contact, and a WhatsApp group/ SMS group which residents can join to receive information about the project.
  • A Facebook page where residents can post their views and find more information about the project.

Public meeting: Social housing in Woodstock

The City of Cape Town is organising a public meeting at the Woodstock Hall (31 Plein St) on 18 July @6pm where Mayoral Committee Councillor Brett Herron (MMC for Transport and urban Development) will provide an update on the affordable housing projects in the area and answer questions.

The Woodstock Residents’ Association (WRA) invites all residents and interested parties to come to the meeting. The WRA is a civic association that promotes and supports the wellbeing of all residents living in the area. It provides a platform to share information, to discuss differences and to share agree on common approaches to solving problems in the community. The WRA also represents the community in its relationship with the local authorities and to helps facilitate engagement between local authorities and residents.

For any questions regarding the WRA or to join the Residents Association, contact us on committee@woodstock.org.za.

For any questions regarding the Affordable Housing public meeting, please contact councillor Dave Bryant on 021 487 2001 or dave.bryant@capetown.gov.za or contact Mayco member Brett Herron on 021 400 1298 or Brett.Herron@capetown.gov.za