Disabled people who use the Bonteheuwel Mulitipurpose Centre are relieved that it now has wheelchair ramps.
The Bonteheuwel Disabled Group has about 50 members who have used the centre regularly for the past four years, getting together four days a week to do arts and crafts, knit, socialise and chat about household problems.
The group was started to get the disabled out of their homes and into society. But its chairperson, Priscilla Jacobs, said getting to meetings had been hard for the members because without ramps at the hall, they’d had to be lifted out of their chairs and carried inside.
But now those days are over.
“We feel like we have won the lotto here,” said Ms Jacobs. “We are very happy to have the ramps. We really needed it, and we asked the councillor everyday when are we getting our ramps.”
The centre was opened more than 20 years ago to create a space for community organisations, and about five of them use it on any given day.
Ward 50 councillor Angus Mckenzie said each of the five entrances to the centre would have a wheelchair ramp.
“Four of them have been completed so far and the fifth one will be completed in the next week or two. Last year we had wheelchair ramps but they were done inadequately and had to be removed. The disabled have been struggling to get into the centre and now we have made things easier for them,” said Mr Mckenzie.
There had been many complaints from disabled people about the lack of ramps.
“It has cost us about R40 000 for the ramps to be constructed, and we have allocated ward funds for that. At the end of the day, we have to make life comfortable for our people. Many of them are living in extreme conditions, and the least we can do is make life more comfortable and convenient for them,” he said.