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

Cape Town achieves record number of green dot households in May

The monthly update of the water map for May 2018 shows that 217 271 households achieved the dark green water-saving dot for their water conservation efforts. These households used less than 6 000 litres per month.

Some 182 404 households also achieved a light green dot status for usage under 10 500 litres per month and together with their dark green dot peers, a record number of 399 675 households had green dots in May 2018.

‘We continue to be proud of the achievements of our residents and of this metro. We thank our residents who are still painting the city green irrespective of the improved dam levels and rainfall that we have received. Importantly, we must try not to let our good water-saving effort go down the drain.

‘It is imperative that we carry on saving and that we continue to live the 50-litre life until the dams fill up sufficiently. The National Department of Water and Sanitation’s tough restrictions remain in place,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg.

Visit www.capetown.gov.za/watermap to view the latest map.

Consumption is indicated on the map as follows:

  • Dark green dot: household using less than 6 000 litres per month
  • Light green dot: household using between 6 000 and 10 500 litres per month
  • Grey dot with small dark green centre: estimated water meter reading of less than 6 000 litres per month
  • Grey dot with small light green centre: estimated water meter reading of less than 10 500 litres per month
  • Solid grey dot: excluded property (including sectional title property or group housing / undeveloped property / water use is zero / no available information for the property / estimated water meter reading of more than 10 500 litres per month)

Please note: The map simply indicates water consumption for free-standing houses, not compliance with water restriction limits. Households with higher consumption may have many people living on the property and may have applied for a water quota increase, or may have an undetected water leak.

The map shows consumption information from meters read in the previous month, and may include a portion of consumption from the preceding month. This information is updated from the third week of the following month.

Households using more than 10 500 litres per month are not shown on the map. The point of this map is to encourage positive behaviour and not to single out bad behaviour. However, remember that consumption higher than 10 500 litres per month (no green dot) does not necessarily indicate water abuse.

Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town

Planting life and a future – our collaboration with the Streetscapes project

One of the greatest challenges that we face as a community is the reintegration of destitute people back into society. Because of this our Social Officer, Abby, spends a lot of time and energy helping these people reach their full potential. Recently Abby came into contact with a local NPO called Khulisa – which roughly means to enlarge or magnify in Zulu.

Growing change

The organisation is an umbrella under which many different projects rest. Abby resonated with the Streetscapes programme which gives homeless people the opportunity to tend gardens in the city and sell the produce that they grow for a monthly income. Allowing the people to be responsible for their own income is key to integration, as many of these people have low self-confidence. Streetscapes provides training and counselling to support them in their growth and personal healing. Another benefit that the programme offers is to help with finances and savings. The money that is made by the vegetables that are sold is paid directly into the workers’ bank accounts which are set up for them by the Streetscapes staff.

High success rate

According to Jesse Laitinen, a representative of the initiative, this programme works well and there have been great success rates in the past. After 6 months of earning R2 400 per month, 77% of the beneficiaries had moved off the streets and 68% had addressed their dependency on alcohol or drugs. This high success rate is encouraging for the three candidates which are spearheading the pilot programme in Trafalgar Park on WID’s recommendation. Sara Marien Ndhlovu, Theo Luyando and Ndzimeni Wellington Ndayi will be enrolled in the three-month pilot programme between the Woodstock Improvement District (WID) and Khulisa, tending a garden at Trafalgar High School. If all goes well, they will be placed in different locations where similar gardens are being kept around the Woodstock area.

Ndhlovu describes this as ideal she sleeps on the streets in Woodstock in order to find odd jobs quickly. This programme will provide a safe way for her to regain her confidence and provide a stable income with which to support herself and her two-year old daughter.

Luyando had also made it clear that he was the perfect candidate for the project by his eagerness to get back on his feet. He has been homeless for just two years and is positive that the program will provide him with the opportunity he so desperately needs to rebuild his life from the foundations up.

The final candidate in the project is just as eager to generate income with his own two hands: Ndayi had worked for a company for nine years but then lost his job and shortly thereafter became homeless. At 48 years of age, the excitement about restarting his career is palpable. He is particularly excited to be in possession of an ID and bank account.

Safety nets

The contacts built through the programme will prove highly beneficial to navigating out of poverty, not to mention the restoration of dignity through meaningful employment. Throughout the duration of the course they will be monitored, with reports being sent to WID on a monthly basis regarding their progress. Abrahams will be in contact with the Streetscapes team on a regular basis to make sure that the candidates are being given the support they need to succeed and are also delivering on their agreements.

“I’m very excited to see this programme up and running,” Abby says, “it’s had its challenges but I believe that it will be very beneficial for everyone involved.”

How you can help

In order for the programme to be a success, public support is vital. We are asking local businesses to make whatever donation they are able to. The money will fund the fencing, compost, tools and seeds to run the garden. Maintaining the project costs roughly R2 000 per person, per month and the goal is to take on more people in the future. If you are able to, volunteers are often needed to help the workers in any capacity they are able.

Alternatively, if you have a skill that can be taught, we would be grateful for your time and donation of training for those currently looking for employment.

For more information, we encourage you to get in contact with Abby directly on 082 611 0591. You can help people change their lives by giving.

Here’s how to help your neighbourhood flourish

“I told no-one about the trouble I was in – not my wife, father, or my two brothers.” Ali* was riddled with shame and guilt when the pressure to provide for his wife and two children led to significant debt. Eventually, he lost his job as a call centre manager, and the weight of these mounting troubles combined with the fear of sharing his burdens led to Ali ending up on the street.

Thankfully, this story ends well! Ali* found help at the Haven shelter and became an employee. Now he earns a living by helping others that have gone through similar difficulties and impacting their actions. This story illustrates the ease with which external circumstances can spiral out of control and lead people to seemingly hopeless situations. Whatever the cause of their problems, with the right guidance, lives can be turned around.

Businesses are in the perfect position to provide the financial support that could help to change the face of our city. By contributing to organisations dedicated to assisting the homeless, we can help pick up those who are struggling in our society.

The immediate benefit is not only a better quality of life for those in need, but also, a more approachable storefront for business owners. This will be due to the lessening of informal squatting outside businesses due to people being housed in shelters which provide them with warm beds to sleep in.

It is important that the problem of homelessness be addressed with full focus. In a press briefing held by Councillor Suzette Little at the Civic Centre in 2015, the Mayoral committee member for Social Development and Early Childhood Development estimated that there were 7,383 homeless people in Cape Town. Of these, only about 2,521 sleep in shelters. Consequently, more than two-thirds are not accessing the tools and organisations to help them resolve their situation.

That is why we are encouraging citizens to give responsibly. Sporadic, unplanned giving only enables street living. If people are making money through begging and selling the latest trinket or sticker for small change, they may be deterred from approaching shelters for help. This is especially concerning as winter is on our doorstep, and many will be left out in the cold.

We believe whole-heartedly that lives can be changed with appropriate guidance. Shelters often have councillors and social workers on hand to help. In the case of local shelters, financial contributions can assist with the purchase of beds, bedding, food and toiletries, or salaries for councillors and staff, as well as rent for the space.

One of the projects we are currently involved in gives the homeless an opportunity to tend gardens in the city and live off the profit they earn, which is deposited into their bank accounts for safety. We run this project in conjunction with Streetscapes and are encouraged by the positive results so far. In this case, financial support from local businesses will help fund the fencing, compost, tools and seeds for the gardens.

In summary, we want to appeal to Woodstock businesses and community members to support the shelters and projects around the Woodstock area, and get involved with the local initiatives. Together we can help people like Ali* get back on their feet and positively influence our economy and the well-being of our beloved city.

*Name changed for privacy purposes.

Contact these shelters to be part of the change in Woodstock:

The D6 haven night shelter

021- 4627321

Email: sheila@haven.org.za

St. Anne’s

021- 4486792

Email: info@stanneshomes.org.za

Youth solutions

021 -4628006

Email: info@safyouth.org

Moira Henderson house

021 4612533

Email: lionel.adams@haven.org.za

Haven homes

021 4477422

Email: havenhomes@telkomsa.net

The Homestead

021 4617470

Email: https://homestead.org.za/contact/

Make it stop – illegal dumping has to go

Woodstock residents are struggling under the weight of waste. We are trying our best to keep up with the demand but it is an uphill battle. In this blog post, we take a look at one of the problems at the forefront of maintenance in Woodstock.

The Problem: Illegal Dumping

This includes not only rubbish, but also rubble. The practice costs Cape Town taxpayers millions of rands in maintenance on top of usual taxes. The last recorded amount readily available was mentioned in a Ground Up article in 2016 on illegal dumping. The estimated total was around R350 million a year, up by R150 million since 2013.

Not only does illegal dumping steal from taxpayers money, John Julies our Operations manager says that our cleaners’ efficiency is being compromised by constantly needing to deal with piles of illegally dumped waste/rubble. He claims that “it gives them less time to clean the main roads which in actual fact should be our main focus.” The cleaners can spend up to ±4 hours extra a day on trying to clear rubble that is haphazardly dumped all over the Woodstock area.

In order to deal with the problem correctly, our WID cleaning team will pick it up, take it to get weighed on the weighbridge in Tide street and transport it to the dumpsite. Again, wasting ratepayer’s valuable money and the WID cleaning services’ valuable time.

Frustration arises because of the fact that “residents have bins, but still dump their rubbish in the street” and this “contributes to up to 90 percent of the dumping in Woodstock” says Julies.

How it affects your business

As mentioned before, from a purely financial perspective, ratepayers that contribute to services being rendered are losing valuable money as constantly removing rubble is expensive. Other services are being neglected in the process. Rubbish strewn everywhere is also likely to discourage patronage to certain shops, which will significantly affect their revenue.

If not dealt with almost immediately, the wind carries waste into drain systems, creating blockages and water wastage in the area. This in turn, causes more problems as water wastage is, of course, no small issue in Cape Town.

Finally, there are very real health risks involved. On 22 April 2013, a three-year-old boy passed away after coming into contact with illegally dumped toxic waste in Delft. Although the waste found in Woodstock is not predominantly toxic, it does present real health risks. Especially to children who attend schools in the area, as well as being the breeding ground for disease.

The solution

The most proactive approach is to report illegal dumping to us, or fill in a C3 notification form. This will ensure that there is a public record kept of offences for future reference. Try to identify the vehicle’s registration number and/ or make of said vehicle so that they can be easily tracked.

Make sure that your business is following good practice and that your employees are aware of how to discard waste correctly. Encourage residents and patrons to take more care when discarding waste by putting up informative flyers or posters in your business. To help, Julies suggests that businesses and residents apply for a rubbish bin at the Civic centre in Cape Town. This will encourage others to do the same and make for a cleaner, safer society to benefit all residents and business owners in the long run.

Help stop illegal dumping and be rewarded

For any report on illegal dumping that leads to an arrest, there will be a R500 reward up for grabs.

Control room number to report: 021 462 1205

Illegal dumping hotspots to look out for:

  • Williams/Sussex
  • Williams/Station
  • Woodland Street
  • Pine Street
  • Beach road/Railway
  • Tide street
  • Bromwell street
  • Douglas Place
  • Aspeling street
  • Grey Street
  • Spring Street
  • Plein Street
  • Greatmorestreet
  • Devon street

Legal dumping spots:

https://goo.gl/UoJ7np