Walmer Township residents cheered in amazement as their new community centre was officially opened on Friday.
Masifunde Learner Development, in partnership with the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention, launched the Umhlali Community Centre – a refurbished building which was previously a tavern.
Umhlali, which means “the resident” in isiXhosa, will cater for a population of more than 26 000 people within 7 900 households.
Umhlali project manager Tarryn Ramoo said the centre had 10 staff members and 11 part-time workers.
They include social workers, social scientists, homework assistants, maths tutors and youth workers.
“We are offering this community a wide spectrum of interventions, including school violence prevention, family strengthening, out-of-school youth, child protection training, early childhood development, institutional capacity building and alcohol abuse prevention,” Ramoo said.
She said the township was riddled with social ills and the centre would facilitate in assisting residents with various services.
Walmer Primary School principal Zukiswa Mafu said her school would benefit from the centre as they would offer services in the form of helping pupils with homework and creating activities they could join in.
“[Our pupils] will have a place to go after school. They will feel safe [and] will be taught extra lessons,” she said.
“This centre will serve as a distraction from the current state that the township is in.”
Umhlali coordinator and homework assistant Luluma Mpongoshe said the centre had also created jobs.