Boost for centre’s minibus fund

The Lodewyk family handed over a cheque for R25 000 to the care centre. From left, are Merle Lodewyk, her daughter, Leigh-Ann Williams, the general manager of Woodside Care Centre, Melanie Brand, and Clive Obery, from the funding department.

A generous donation from a Rondebosch East family is playing an inspirational role for a non-profit special care centre, in buying a new vehicle to transport its residents.

Since early February, the Woodside Special Care Centre in Rondebosch East has been making appeals to the public through crowdfunding, social media and advertising in community newspapers, for donations to buy a new vehicle.

Clive Obery, from the funding department of Woodside, says it has owned its current minibus for 15 years, though spare parts are hard to find, and it is becoming expensive to repair when it breaks down.

The vehicle, which accommodates wheelchairs for their residents with reduced mobility, is used to transport them to hospitals and on outings.

Merle Lodewyk responded to an advertisement in the Southern Suburbs Tatler, on March 14, which inspired her to get involved in raising funds for the new vehicle.

Ms Lodewyk and her husband Andre, and their children, Leigh- Ann and Clinton, worked together to raise R25 000 in a fundraising event at their home in Rondebosch East.

Ms Lodewyk says she got involved in this fundraising initiative to reach out to the community.

“I know there are so many care centres that need assistance, and here we have children who can’t walk, and need aid, and the minibus will transport them wherever they need to be,” she said.

Ms Lodewyk and her family, with help from friends and relatives, held a fundraising food fair at their home at the end of March, where they invited the community to buy seafood combos with salads.

Leigh-Ann Williams said they invited their neighbours and family members, and shared the invitation though social media, and members of Woodside also attended the food fair.

Siblings Leigh-Ann and Clinton were responsible for most of the cooking at the food fair. Ms Lodewyk said there were three people who came to the food fair to give private donations towards the bus.

Mr Obery is grateful for the support given by the Lodewyk family, the donors and supporters.

“It’s an amazing gesture; we were blown away by their generosity,” he said.

The Woodside Special Care Centre takes care of 80 residents, from the ages of five to 53, who are profoundly physically and intellectually disabled.

Mr Obery says they need a new minibus as soon as possible, as the older vehicle is causing problems. Woodside has started with crowdfunding for donations, and they have already raised R140 000 since the end of February, which included the R25 000 from the Lodewyk family.

They would like to raise
R950 000 for the new minibus, where R700 000 would be for the minibus itself, and R250 000 would be for modifications that will assist their special needs residents.

The modifications would include a hydraulic lift for wheelchairs, and a wheelchair station inside the vehicle to keep the wheelchairs safe, and seats for the caregivers who would accompany the residents on trips.

Mr Obery says if 9 500 residents of Cape Town can donate R100 or more, the will reach their target in no time at all.

Woodside is making more appeals to the public to help them realise their goals.

If anyone would like to assist the care centre with donations for their new minibus, they can visit their website at www.