Church starts support group

Catherine Roberts (with her 3-year-old grandson, Raygan Roberts), Lilian Barnes, Carmen Jones, and Latitia Solomon. At the back are Clinton Sylvester, Maldeen Solomon and Fredie Wagener from the Department of Social Development.

The Bonteheuwel Baptist Church has started a support group for drug addicts and their families.

The group’s chairperson, Maldeen Solomon, said a talk at the church earlier this year by Ellen Pakkies – the Lavender Hill mother who killed her abusive, tik-addicted son, Adam, in 2007 – had led to many – both children and adults – calling for help for their drug-addicted loved ones.

“From there, the support group started because of the need. The people who spearheaded the support group are all members of the church’s hospitality group. We didn’t know where to start, but we had a list of names of people who needed counselling. We approached social workers from the Department of Social Development who came out to assist. We also do house visits,” Mr Solomon said.

The support group was helped by Pastor Edgar Carolissen, who had started a similar group at the Silvertown Baptist Church. 

“Pastor Edgar equipped us and empowered us. We still need to learn more about substance abuse, and for this reason, we are always looking out for workshops or training. Rehabilitation facilities are expensive, and not everybody can afford it. We provide counselling and create awareness,” Mr Solomon added.

Catherine Roberts, one of the support group members, said she appreciated the time Pastor Carolissen had sacrificed to train them. 

“If one person abuses a substance in a family, it affects the whole family. I believe that because I have first-hand experience of this, I am able to reach out to other families. It has always been my desire to work with people,” she said.

Fredie Wagener, from the Department of Social Development, met with the group earlier this month.

“Our department has a family-centred approach, as we found that more help is needed to deal with aftercare and family reunification when someone is discharged from a rehabilitation facility. So we look at how we can support the recovering addict,” Mr Wagener said.

The support group promises confidentiality. It does house visits on a Tuesday and meets on a Wednesday. Call Mr Solomon at 076 734 9893 or Lilian Barnes at 078 964 6479.