Advice office turns 25

Brian Pretorius, founder of the Athlone District Advice Office in Bridgetown.

The Athlone District Advice Office celebrated its 25th anniversary with an eat and treat at the Rylands civic centre last Friday.

One of its founding members, Brian Pretorius, said the advice office had been started to assist the disadvantaged people of the Athlone community and surrounds.

The office, which was first based in Kewtown, is now situated in Petunia Street, Bridgetown, next to the Sarah Fox convalescent home for children, and assists about 30 people every day.

The office operates out of a shipping container which was donated by Breadline Africa.

This container, however, is very small and is in need of repairs, said Mr Pretorius.

And the money raised at the eat and treat would be used to cover these costs, he added.

It will also be used to pay a stipend to one of the staff and for office supplies.

More importantly, however, they hope to raise enough funds to move into a proper office space. “If there are any potential donors out there they must please donate to us or if they are willing to offer us decent office space to serve the community.”

Mr Pretorius explained that the office dealt with consumer, labour and housing issues, evictions, and domestic violence-related matters and also draws up wills for free.

The office is open Monday to Friday from 9am until 7pm.

That the office is still running after 25 years, said Mr Pretorius, is testament to the important role it plays in the community.

Apart from not being able to afford legal representation, he said, “people also don’t know where to go to (for help).

“Most of the time we are very successful in helping people and resolving their cases. We have people coming from all areas seeking assistance,” he said.

He added that the office would like thank to all those who had contributed to its success.

The offices can be contacted on 021 697 4167.