Leaky roof to put damper on Christmas

2009-12-22 00:00

RESIDENTS and staff members of the Suid-Afrikaanse Vrouefederasie (SAVF) old age home are looking for a Christmas miracle.

It seems they will have to spend the festive season without their only recreational room.

The home’s new manager, Henry Spenser, said they house and care for nearly 100 elderly people who largely come from Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas. But since a month ago, these residents have not been able to use the residents’ only entertainment room which was damaged as a result of a leaky roof.

The room is considered by many residents, who have little else to do and are unable to leave the building, as the “heart of the home”. Here they get to watch television and attend church services.

It is also the only room that can hold all the residents for functions and is regarded as a prime venue for those who gather religiously for other entertainment like bingo.

“We are one of the poorest homes locally, which makes it impossible to fix this problem on the budget we are working with. It’s been four weeks and it is getting worse. We can’t have the residents in here because we are not sure how safe it is,” said Spenser.

The furniture has had to be moved away from the leaks to avoid further damage. In some areas the damp and stained roof has started peeling.

“When it rains, it really comes down. We have made an application to the National Lotto fund for a conventional roof to be erected over this existing one. We would also need new carpets because this has been damaged by water.”

But Spenser said this could take up to 12 months.

“I would like to believe that there are enough people in the community who are concerned about the vulnerable. I would like to see as many Father Christmases as possible who will come and assist us.”

FORMERLY known as the Afrikaanse Christelike Vrouevereniging, the organisation has been operating since 1904. In the province, other SAVF old age homes are based in Utrecht and Vryheid, though the organisation has branches nationally. Traditionally, the home was known as a faith-based Afrikaans organisation, but manager Henry Spenser said they now have residents of all races.

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