Although the Manenberg Aftercare Centre is not able to operate fully because of Covid-19, it still serves the vulnerable in the community by running a feeding scheme.
Before lockdown, the children took part in various activities, including music, sport, dancing, arts and crafts, and reading. They also received a healthy meal and fruit.
Centre manager Leslie Selbourne, said the centre was “highly respected in the community for its essential service”.
“The centre runs support programmes for about 160 children from the age of 4 to 18, in a caring, stimulating and safe environment. During the normal school holidays, holiday programmes and regular excursions complement the programme. Under normal circumstances, the centre operates from Mondays to Thursdays from 3pm to 5pm,” Mr Selbourne said.
The organisation is also known as the Holy Family Child and Youth Development Centre, and is based on the property of the Holy Family of Nazareth Catholic Church.
This year also marks this non-profit organisation’s 10th anniversary, but the celebrations will have to wait until next year, or until the threat of Covid-19 is no more, Mr Selbourne said.
The centre was established as an independent non-profit organisation in 2010 by Father Wim Lindeque, who at that time, was the parish priest in Manenberg.
Reverend Lindeque is still the chairperson of the board. Most of the staff are from the community and started off as volunteers when the centre opened.
“The aim was to help children to stay off the streets and to feed those who did not receive their school meals during the long winter school holidays because of the 2010 World Cup. It soon became clear that there was an urgent need to assist with the mental and social development of the children. Since then, the centre has become one of the longest running non-governmental childcare programmes in Manenberg,” Mr Selbourne said.
The current food programme runs three days a week and reaches about 260 people a day. For most it is their only warm meal of the day.
Mr Selbourne said staff strictly observed the Covid-19 regulations.
The centre has also obtained funding from a German sponsor to provide 53 girls with toiletry packs – including sanitary pads – for the next three months.
The centre has been operating without government funding, and relies on the generosity of individuals.
If you can assist, contact Mr Selbourne at 079 0577 064, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit its website at www.manenbergcentre.org