Card Making Workshop

On Tuesday the 7th of February, the Bible Study Group of ladies from Life Church shared a morning of craft fun with the ladies from the Somerset West Night Shelter. It was a very special day as it was the first time for everyone to let their creative juices flow.  With double sided tape sticking on fingers and paper, butterflies and ribbon to cover up small “mistakes”, the end result of the Valentine’s Day cards was a sounding successs.  The cards were all very unique given the fact that everybody had the same items to work with and the ladies were very proud of their cards. It was an hounour to serve the ladies in such a manner offering them friendship and love in a very relaxed atmosphere.  The ladies from Life Church visits the shelter once a month and are planning future craft mornings to offer support, understanding and to share the Word of God.

Feeding Hungry Souls

Every second Tuesday night at the Somerset West Night Shelter, those hungry for spiritual upliftment get together with our Christian ministry group to feed more than just their physical bodies. We set aside an hour or so to share the Good News with our residents and our aim is simply to provide a little inspiration, sharing a positive message that offers hope and encouragement to those who need it most. Our team is made up of volunteers from Life Church in Somerset West, who receive as much of a blessing by sharing the word as those receiving it. Attendance is purely on a voluntary basis for the residents and we’ve seen a steady growth in regular attendance since we started last year. We’ve also witnessed a number of people from all walks of life giving their heart to the Lord as they understand and accept the message of salvation. Our current series focuses on building our faith: – the various kinds of faith, how to develop our faith and make it stronger, and how to live by faith on a daily basis. We encourage anyone to participate in the sessions and after the main message we normally break up into smaller groups for personal prayer as well as question and answer time. We find that praying together for each other really makes a huge impact in our lives.  

HRAA supports renewal of the lease

  1. The town ofSomerset Westsuffers from a serious problem of homeless people and others who are sometimes referred to as vagrants, etc.  This is particularly evident in the town centre, close to the site of the Night Shelter.  Efforts are being made by Councillors and various NGOs to solve this problem.     The CoCT’s imminent policy on the rehabilitation of Homeless People is expected to advance this process.
  1. For practical purposes, the Night Shelter is the only refuge of its kind in the town.     It is potentially a significant element in the solution of the Homeless problem.    We are informed that there are only 50-55 persons who fall within the definition of Homeless People.      The capacity of the Night Shelter would therefore considerably alleviate the problem and must not be lost to the town.
  1. The HRAA has inspected the Night Shelter premises, and will continue to do so periodically.    Our members were impressed to note that it appears to be run in an efficient and disciplined manner.    We found it to be clean and well kept.     A vegetable garden is being developed and there is a rudimentary workshop where saleable items can be and are being produced.
  1. We are aware of past difficulties experienced at the shelter.    We note that new management has made and continues to make progress in resolving these.   We understand that a continuing problem relating to virtually permanent occupants is being resolved. Financial, stock and asset controls have improved and general supervision appears to be sound and adequate.
  1. The Night Shelter functions as an NGO under the control of known and reputable local persons.     The NGO is merely a tenant, largely dependent on charitable donations and subscriptions which are likely to be discontinued if tenure of the premises is insecure.    Significant commitment of funds or investment is presently unobtainable.     Extension of the lease is essential.
  1. The CoCT has a duty to maintain order and cleanliness in the town, which it duly discharges.    Councillors, NGOs and many citizens contribute time and effort towards this end.   The Night Shelter also makes a valuable contribution. We believe that the City, over and above its obligations as a landlord, has a moral duty to the town and citizens to lend continuing support to the shelter.
  1. We recommend that the City should (a) extend the lease of the Night Shelter for a period of 10 years, (b) include in the lease the use of the vacant cottage(s) on erf 8813 under the City’s control and (c) grant the shelter a firm commitment of defined financial support for the future, without impairment of its autonomy.    

Did you know… October was Social Development Month?

Hottentots Holland High School and The Somerset West Night Shelter organised a meal packing event under the supervision of Stop Hunger Now SA on the 5th of November 2011 at the Waterstone Village in Somerset West.

A total of 3 000 meals were packed in 2 hours. These meals will be distributed to families and street people in the Helderberg area. The Hottentots Holland High School pupils really enjoyed the event and we would like to thank them for sacrificing their time for this worthy cause.  We would also like to thank the Rotary Club and Friedman and Cohen that donated funds, as well as Waterstone Village that were willing to let us use a vacant shop for the event.

Art ‘n Wine Auction

We are very grateful for the support we received on Saturday past. We managed to raise R16 000 which was great for a quickly organised event. Without support from friends and committee members it wouldn’t have been possible. The Night Shelter is in a very volatile position with everyone feeling the crunch of the recession at the moment so we heavily rely on the community to make a difference. The Skills Centre enables those people who find them selves living at the shelter to have an opportunity to up lift themselves. Thank you to those who came for making a difference. We would like to invite the public to come and have a look at the shelter. If you know of anybody that would like to get involved or who possibly have it on their hearts to sponsor the night shelter on a regular basis please let us know or forward our details to them. Our Generous Sponsors: Mel & Zunia @ Avontuur Restaurant; Avontuur Wine Farm; Deon Van der Vyver – Superfoto; Theresa Visser – Eagles Rest Guest Lodge; Madeleen Health & Beauty Salon – Back Massage and Pedicure; JP – Erinvale Hotel; Trix Visser- Decopage plates & 40 cards; Cathy Cook – Fruit Cake; Noami Van Zyl – Art; Marie Ogiela – Art and Gallery 91

Visit to the Ark

Last week Thursday Andre Venter and I took a ride on our bikes to visit Pastor Ralph @ the Ark. We were so blessed to see what an incredible work they are doing there.  They have over 300 men from various walks of life, situations and circumstances.  Their vegetable garden is the main activity which keeps they guys busy.  It is not for profit, as they have found in the past when they tried to run it like a small business, often they would be bought out of all their stock.  Andre and I took the opportunity to ask many questions and glean from their experience.  We were so impressed by the passion that the staff have for the people they are working with.  Gardening is thoroughly therapeutic and you can see how the guys from the age of 16 right up till late 80’s love what they are doing.  Pastor Ralph also showed us their woodwork shop and again some of the items being made are so beautiful and sell able that they cannot keep up with demand.  There is so much potential in everyone, yes even the down and out, homeless, unwanted, abandoned, set aside individual who lands up in organisations like ours and the Ark.  Thank you Pastor Ralph, thank you Ark for your hospitality!  We left encouraged and excited about our little shelter in Somerset West.  Andre has made great progress with the vegetable garden set up.  Noami has also been hard at work sharing her expertise.  We are now planning a fundraiser Art & Wine Auction for the end of the month.  Have a look at the invite and take a look at the beautiful flowers we enjoyed smelling while at the Ark.  


The end of the year is fast approaching.  I mentioned I would give feedback after the AGM, well to say that it was an entertaining eventful meeting would be an understatement!  For the first time in many years we had over 50 people attend.  This is fantastic news.  The Shelter and the homeless people who make use of the shelter need all the public participation and attention we can get.  The committee will be meeting in a weeks time to conclude positions and finalise some pending issues.  Communication has been typed up which will be emailed to all the churches, business, organisations and friends asking for URGENT SUPPORT.  The shelter needs grocery support, financial support and volunteer support.  The sad fact remains that most people who live in the Helderberg and even those who have grown up here and are considered ‘locals’ do not know where the shelter is and have not visited the shelter.  We are needing to turn this around, the Shelter must be a community concern, run by the community and supported by those who care to make a difference.  Yes we all live busy lives and many are involved with issues here and matters there, however we are hoping and trusting that as the Shelter puts out an urgent cry for help, many will respond.  We know that the Shelter has great potential.  If everyone were to just make a small difference, big change will result. Next time we chat will be about our VOUCHER system, it’s been a long time coming and is finally here!

AGM Tonight

We are looking forward to the AGM tonight at the venue of LIFE Church, 6 pm sharp!  Erin Georgiou the Senior Editor of JOY! Christian magazine, Hassan Khan the CEO of the Haven who manage 14 shelters in and around Cape Town, plus numerous councillors and CITY of Cape Town Government representatives will be attending.  For many years the previous committee advertised the AGM in the local paper just as we have done, however many AGM were faced with lack of response form the community and low attendance.  Running a NPO with limited resources and on a volunteer basis, where all the time you put in is at your own cost is not easy.  I would to thank those who have faithfully served the Shelter over the last year!  Also if it wasn’t for the previous committee laying down such a great foundation of process in their meetings we would not have had the knowledge of how to proceed with the ‘paperwork’.  For the first time ever we have a solid relationship with local representatives from Social Development and they will be assisting us with the grant application process which is now at hand for 2012.  Receiving support from Government will make a tremendous difference to the current financial crises we now find ourselves in.  We are hoping to employ a qualified social worker.  Thank you to those who have embraced our effort to partner with like organisations, namely Oasis, Helderberg Skills Centre, Masincedane Community Service, Helderberg Cares and many others.  We are currently in the midst of a financial crises, so right now our primary focus is that of FOOD DONATIONS.   Please let us know if you are able to organise through a connection you have, or perhaps you own a business.  Any donation makes a big difference.  The next blog will be about the AGM.  Chat soon!

Meet Max!

The Somerset West Night Shelter would like to thank to Dr Karin Wilson and staff who have taken on our Labrador Max as their social welfare contribution to the community.

Max was given to the Shelter at the beginning of the year by a Somerset West resident who was immigrating.

He is two years old, He works hard and has proven to be invaluable to the team and is loved by all the clients at the shelter.

He has now been de-wormed, immunised, received flea & tick treatment, has a food sponsorship and will have his crown jewels removed next month.

A very big thank you to Karen. Please support her new practise Tevo Veterinary Clinic which is at the Vegelegen Shopping Centre.