Home closes to make way for rehab

Children at Heatherdale Childrens Home, look at donations of food and appliances which they received last year. The childrens home has closed to make way for a rehabilitation centre.

A Belgravia children’s home has closed to make way for a children’s drug-rehab centre.

Heatherdale Children’s Home’s principal, Andre Buttner, said it had faced financial hardships, and the management board had decided to reopen the centre to help drug addicts aged 12 to 18 get clean.

“We have been running an outpatient programme over the past six years, for children who struggle with substance abuse. We have found that there is a great need for this kind of assistance, as many rehabilitation centres are either too expensive or too full. The Department of Social Development decided that they will no longer fund community-based outpatient programmes, but only those with a residential setting.

“Heatherdale Children’s Home had huge financial challenges, and we operated with no resources and basically survived from month-to-month. We could not continue the way we used to,” Mr Buttner said.

The 43 children at Heatherdale were moved to other homes with the help of social workers. Some were reunited with their families.

The building would be renovated before it reopened as a rehabilitation centre next year, housing up to 30 children at a time for a six-month rehab programme, Mr Buttner said.

“We would like to express our appreciation to the community, who have been very generous to us over the years. Once we get started with the rehabilitation centre, we will keep the community informed,” Mr Buttner said.