Stellenbosch Umasipala

The Hope Through Action centre opened in Groendal, Franschhoek on Thursday, 15 January 2015. This Franschhoek Valley Community Sports Centre and Early Learning Centre was formally opened by the executive mayor of Stellenbosch, Conrad Sidego, the premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille and the British High Commissioner to South Africa, Ms Judith MacGregor.

This centre has made the dream of changing lives and bringing hope for disadvantaged youth a reality through the construction of this new indoor community sport centre. The mayor described the centre as a ‘cathedral of dreams’, a place whereby with sports and life skills training individuals can realise their dreams.

Caption: Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille and Executive Mayor of Stellenbosch, Conrad Sidego Mayor and Premier participating in the zumba dance with youth zumba group at the opening of the Franschhoek Valley Community Sports Centre in Groendal.

The centre was built by Hope Through Action, a charity registered in South Africa and in the United Kingdom as well as Power Construction who was involved in the construction and Lyners Consulting who did the project management. The centre includes a synthetic multi-sport pitch which is a FIFA standard 3G pitch, meaning a third generation pitch where the synthethic carpet is laid onto various bases, from the top-specification ‘engineered system’, consisting of stone base, porous tarmac layer and shockpad. The facility also includes training rooms, showers, meeting rooms and spectator seating for 300 people. Various sports will be accommodated at the centre such as handball, netball, cricket, volleyball, rugby, zumba dancing and soccer. The engineering of the pitch makes it one of the best in the municipality and the area and of world-class standard.

The centre will provide unique opportunities to the youth and will help fulfil their potential and skills, the premier, Mrs Helen Zille highlighted in her address. She also stated the central importance of sport in the development of a person within a social and group context. She commended the Hope Through Action movement for this development in the Franschhoek community and area and indicated that government, private sector and NGO’s such as Hope Through Action should partner to make this successful model ‘n role player for duplication in all areas in the province.

The centre was funded by Hope Through Action, a charity in SA and the UK which assists disadvantaged youth to develop life skills such as through sport. The opening was hosted by Mr Philip Green, Patron of Hope Through Action and Mrs Judy Green, Patron of Hope Through Action.

The development of the skills is done in a very holistic way, for the focus is not just on sport but also encompass the intellectual, sychological, mental and spiritual well-being and development, Phil Bland, Chair of the Hope Through Action indicated. The benefits to the community are numerous not just from an educational and sport perspective but the facility adds to initiatives to get the youth of the street, committed to sport and to improve their health and lives by making responsible and informed decisions. The impact is a positive difference in the lives of residents in the valley, young and old.

The opening programme also included inspiring talks by community leaders and the youth; sports demonstrations by young people, a zumba demonstration with active participation by VIPS and especially the executive mayor of Stellenbosch, Conrad Sidego and the premier of the Western Cape, Mrs Helen Zille. The VIP group toured the facility and unveiled plaques in the sports centre and in the early learning centre.

Other VIPs attended were councillor Aldridge Frazenburg, MayCo member of Stellenbosch Municipality, Mr Graham Power, CEO of Power Construction, Mr Fred Laker, Project Manager, Lyners Consulting, Mr Stafan Howelss, CEO of SCORE, Mr D Gurr, Trustee of the Kusasa Project, Mr J MacGregor, husband of the British High Commissioner and Mr Phil Bland, Chair of Hope Through Action.