A COMMUNITY ADVICE OFFICE has been established by WUCT, which is run by two members of the Westlake community. They assist the community with queries regarding IDís (identity documents), social grants, typing of cvís and printing services. They also help people to find employment and assist the community with transport to and from the Home Affairs Office, Social Services, Police Station, or Hospital. They also manage the Hall Complex for its tenants, who hire out the hall for church services, forum meetings and other community functions. This office is buzzing with activity as they tend to a constant stream of people from the community or visitors who come in daily. We estimate approximately 400 people per month visit this office.
WUCT facilitates 2 HIV/AIDS SUPPORT GROUPS. They are called ITHEMBA (XHOSA for HOPE). Ithemba deals with a range of issues including education, prevention, home based care and anti-retroviral treatment. Support is given in the form of monthly food parcels and assistance with transport to hospital, whenever necessary. Problems are shared and members are encouraged to help, care and support one another as they come to terms with living with HIV. We also work in partnership with the Fikelela Aids Project, the Anglican AIDS outreach organization.
WUCT runs a HOME BASED CARE PROGRAM in partnership with the Department of Health. We employ a registered nursing sister who co-ordinates the program, 15 trained home based carers, including a full-time community healthcare worker, who visit and care for sick people in their homes. We also employ 2 Patient Advocates (Treatment Supporters) who monitor anti-retroviral treatment (ART) and report back to the ART roll-out site . We also run CHRONIC DISEASE SUPPORT GROUPS in Westlake and surrounding areas, for mainly elderly people who suffer from conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, etc.
A SECOND HAND SHOP has been started by WUCT as a job creation project for 4 members of the Westlake community. This shop is situated in a disused shipping container, which is one of three in the very large hall complex. Each Tuesday, clothes and household goods that have been donated by the churches are sold at very reasonable prices to the Westlake community. This has been a huge success and the women running the shop have been able to generate some income.
4 women from the community have received training from Soil for Life, and have started an ORGANIC FOOD GARDEN at the WUCT Community Centre premises. This project is called MASIVUKE and fresh lettuce and vegetables are sold to a local restaurant, as well as the community and Ithemba support groups. (The garden has now moved to Lynx Road and the site is being re-developed as a new playground).
A CRAFTS CENTRE has been set up where beadwork and sewing is taught by volunteers from the various churches. The crafting is proving to be popular amongst the women in the community who gather to learn new skills. Beadwork orders have been received and income has been generated. A sewing course was run by False Bay College, Noordhoek, and the trainees received certificates at a graduation ceremony.
ADULT BASIC EDUCATION AND TRAINING classes are run twice a week, on a Friday morning from 10.00-12.00 and on Wednesday evenings from 5.30-7.00pm. The program teaches learners functional numeracy and literacy and the facilitators were trained at Maryland Literacy Centre, Hanover Park.
An INTERNET CAFE has been started at the WUCT premises following a generous donation from the Dell Development Fund. Computer courses are also been offered at the Internet Cafe.
Several churches from the surrounding areas run an afternoon FEEDING SCHEME for children returning from school. This is held every weekday at 3pm at the Community Centre premises and up to 300 children per day receive sandwiches and fruit or soup in winter.
The EMMANUEL EDUCARE CENTRE is a registered pre-school, run by WUCT for 194 children aged from 3 to 6 years. Mrs Eleanor Lawrence, a retired schoolteacher, is the Principal. She is assisted by Hazel, Val, Cher, Maxine, Amezil and Gretchen, who are trained teachers, as well as Pauline, Shirley, Portia, Amanda and Dolly, who are the teachers’ assistants. Maria, Anna, Doreen and Phamela run the kitchen and prepare breakfast,lunch and afternoon tea for the children. There is a Board of Governors who meet regularly. The preschool is open from 07h00 to 15h00 Monday to Friday. The school has recently been renovated and extended. The pre-school is always in need of funds as the teachers salaries are very low and many children require assistance with their school fees. Our caretaker, Japie, is a highly valued member of the team, and we have a part-time admin assistant at the school as well.