Centre’s lease renewal approved

The Cape Multi Service Centre in Salt River.

The City has approved the renewal of a 10-year lease for the Salt River premises used by non-profit that helps vulnerable children.

Last month, during its virtual meeting, Sub-council 16 supported the application of the Cape Multi Service Centre, which operates from a portion of City-owned property on the corner of Copperfield and Pickwick roads in Salt River. The Pickwick transitional housing project is on the other portion of the City property.

The property will be leased at a tariff of R1 111 per annum for a 10-year period; the rental be adjusted annually in line with the rental tariff structure; the property be used for social-care purposes only and be subject to compliance with other statutory requirements.

James Vos, mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management, said the proposal had met with no objections.

The centre began in 2004 as a project providing services to street children through an organisation called Cape Town City Mission. It was decided a few years later, by its founder, that it should begin running independently. In February 2007, it was registered as an NPO.

Karolien Wesselink, the centre’s director, said that while running as a shelter for street children it had become apparent that many were from the same areas.

“These are communities that are rife with gang violence and most of the families live in poor living conditions. Through discovering the risks to children in these areas, programmes were first established at a primary school in Clarke Estate.

“Field workers were employed through empowering people from within the community and they worked alongside the social worker. Later, we started similar programmes in schools in other areas.”

The programmes were aimed at working with children at risk of ending up on the street, she said.

“This was the birth of what is now our prevention and early intervention programme.”

The centre had registered with the provincial Department of Social Development as a child and youth care centre in 2010, she said.

Ms Wesselink said the centre had 30 boys between the ages of 13 and 18 who had been placed in its care through the children’s court.

“These children are removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect. We also have various community-based projects in different areas around Cape Town.”

The centre had been on the property for more than 13 years and the site was crucial for the organisation’s existence, she said..

“ Without this facility we cannot operate,” she said.