NPO helps to keep Robin Trust afloat

Robin Trust nurse Natasha Cloete; Robin Trust manager Corlia Viljoen; Robin Trust hygiene and cleaning co-ordinator Vuvu Molefe; CEO of HEOSA Werner Laubscher; Robin Trust marketing manager Aletia Ritter; and HFP Catering staff Lihanne Laubscher, Niel Botma and Thobeka Mwanda.

A non-profit company has stepped in to keep the 27-year-old Robin Trust in Pinelands afloat.

Robin Trust, until recently, provided nursing and home-based care training while caring for the frail and elderly, but its manager, Corlea Viljoen, said Covid-19 had hit the organisation with a slew of unexpected costs that had forced the closure of its nursing college and the retrenchment of staff working in the dementia unit, known as The Nest, and the sub-acute facility.

“The sub-acute facility we had to close because the hospitals were not performing the normal theatre procedures which normally resulted in referrals… We hope to resume these services as soon as things return to normal.”

At the beginning of August, the trust formed a partnership with the Healthcare Employers Organisation of South Africa (HEOSA), which will see the non-profit company take over the running of The Nest and its kitchen.

HEOSA revamped the Nest, and Robin Trust staff will work there, but income derived from the facility will go to HEOSA.

“It really happened when we were down on the floor,” Ms Viljoen said.

HEOSA handles human resources and industrial relations in the health-care industry. It specialises in restructuring facilities in financial hardship.

The Robin Trust’s Home-Based Care Agency has meanwhile continued to function throughout the pandemic, and Ms Viljoen said the partnerships could open new opportunities for both organisations to provide those services to other retirement villages and care facilities.

Robin Trust has also introduced a hygiene and cleaning course for retirement facilities. The 64 students from the closed nursing college had been placed in the Netcare Education college in Bellville, Ms Viljoen said. And 90% of the retrenched staff had been reappointed to the Nest as part of the deal with HEOSA.
Werner Laubscher, the chief executive officer of HEOSA, said they would handle the day-to-day running of the facility, looking after the clinical requirements to make sure the patients were taken care of in the way they were accustomed to.

“They have had a good reputation for many years and we have been serving frail care and children’s homes since 2011 and we believe they can be a strong force in the marketplace,” he said.

HFP Catering had been contracted to run the kitchen and provide meals that catered to the patients’ special dietary needs, he said.

The staff working The Nest, he said, would still be Robin Trust staff.

Ms Viljoen said the Robin Trust was grateful for the support given by the Pinelands community during the pandemic. She said people had donated food, toiletries, blankets and bedding for the staff who had slept in and the Pinelands Community Action Network(CAN) group had donated masks.

Visit https://robintrust.org.za/ or call 021 447 1565 for more information about the Robin Trust.