The Western Cape minister of Social Development, Albert Fritz, toured the Shawco Kensington Centre on Tuesday 19 September.
He says the purpose of the visit was to see how the facilities funded by social development deliver their services and to interact with their management.
He says it is in the department’s interest to make sure that all the government funded institutions comply with the rules especially the early childhood development programmes. “It is important that the programmes do not interfere with the school work. I am also impressed with the elderly programmes as well. We encourage the community of Kensington to make use of these facilities.”
He says during these tough times in communities like Kensington the youth is advised to use the centre as a safe space to get away from the crime-related incidents.
The Shawco is reportedly an oldest multi-purpose facility in Cape Town. It provides key services to the communities of Kensington, Maitland and Factreton such as early childhood development, after-school education programmes, a reading room and library, Saturday tuition, Rags-to-Riches clothing store, computer training classes, a community hall which hosts fitness, dance and music classes and seniors club.
The facility also houses the Kensington local office of the department and various other key NGO partners, such as Meals on Wheels, FAMSA, Daughters of Destiny, Union of Jewish Women, and the Women’s Communicare Network.
Fritz received a warm welcome from both the staff and the beneficairies. While the elderly people at the Meals on Wheels kitchen sang a special song to him, the children at the Jewish crech took the opportunity to sing him a national anthem in which he joined in and reminded everyone in attendence the importance of the song.
Gavin Joachims, the director of Shawco, says they are pleased to host the minister and show him what they offer.
He says the services offered at the centre are aimed at improving the community and promoting safe and secure place for children. Joachims says they also focus on educational and skill upliftment for the children from the ages of three and elderly people in their the 50s and older.
An employee at Shawco, Zachariah Hendricks says it is a pleasure that the minister has shown interest in their services. He says they pride themselves in the skill development offered for all ages and the positive contribution the centre has to the community. Hendricks helps with computer lessons and says the most interesting participants are the younger children and the elderly people who get to use computers for the first time and find most of the things to seem “magical”.