The Woodstock Residents Association (WRA) is appealing to residents to take a stand and become involved in bringing about change in the community.
“Be the change you want to see,” says Laura Myers, communication officer at the association.
Myers says they are calling on residents to join the association. WRA aims to promote and support the well-being of all residents living in the area.
Its focus is also to represent the community in its relationship with the local authorities and to cooperate and liaise with other organisations to further the objectives of the association.
“Everyone has certain issues within the community that they want to see resolved. We are saying people must join us so that we can try and tackle these challenges. Let us take back our community,” adds Myers.
She explains that since 2018, the WRA (which covers the entire Woodstock area – above and below Main Road), has slowly started building relationships and coalitions to try and improve the area.
“The WRA is active in the areas of public spaces and greening the neighbourhood, community cohesion, safety and traffic, housing, heritage and planning. WRA is not just a ratepayers’ association –anyone living or running their business in the area can become a member.”
Myers adds that there is an annual membership fee of R50, but says residents who cannot afford to pay this can still become a member.
During the initial lockdown in March last year, WRA teamed up with the Woodstock Community Action Network (CAN) to support the neighbourhood during the pandemic and assist local community kitchens.
Andrea Couvert, WRA outgoing vice-chair, says: “There is no shortage of challenges affecting our area and we invite people who love Woodstock to raise their hand and join the WRA committee.”
Myers adds: “WRA is kind of like a blank slate: anyone who wants to work on an issue they care about is welcome; we can help spread the word, identify others who share their concern, and facilitate communication. It’s fine that committee members do not always agree with each other on specific issues; Woodstock is a diverse neighbourhood and there is room for all around the WRA table.”
Myers adds that the association will be having its annual general meeting on Saturday 27 March. The meeting had to be postponed last year due to the lockdown.
Bevil Lucas, outgoing WRA chair, says: “We want as many people as possible in Woodstock to participate in our meetings, so we decided against having a Zoom meeting, as so many people already struggle to afford data for keeping in touch with family and work.”
Myers says now that level one of the lockdown allows for gatherings to take place, the association will hold its AGM at 11:00 outdoors at the Woodstock Town Hall park.
“We will require everyone attending to wear a mask and to not sit close to others who are not part of their household. People are welcome to bring a blanket and chairs will be provided. The WRA has invited input from the local ward councillors and other community organisations working for the area.”
She says during the AGM a new management committee will be elected and a new constitution will be implemented. Information about the AGM can be accessed at the Woodstock Library or on the WRA website, which also has a link to sign up as a member.