THE Port Alfred Benevolent Society held its AGM at the Goodwill Centre last Thursday, with chairlady, Joy Altson announcing her retirement as chair.
Concern was raised as to the future of the centre as Altson discussed the society’s lack of funding. She revealed there were no Lotto funds from August 2016 and that the committee managed to keep the society running through rentals. The Benevolent Society managed to secure some funds from Lotto at this point-even though it’s a fraction of what they would need to continue their services.
Altson who has been chair for 13 years, said the Goodwill Centre has lots of work to be done, and the state of the building is in need of attention.
“We do not feel it is our responsibility to carry the load of the whole of the centre and whoever the management committee gets to rent this must take over all the responsibilities,” she said.
Altson, who heads up the Welfare portfolio, said she had invested many thousands of rands in upgrading the Goodwill Centre, including roofing, guttering and other repair work.
As one of the arms of the society, Altson reported that the Welfare section was feeding 335 families, with 260 in Port Alfred and 75 in Bathurst receiving food parcels every month, but had to stop in August 2016 because of the shortage of funds.
“We resumed feeding in April this year but with only R150 000 received for food we can only feed every alternate month,” she said.
“We have lost many destitute recipients due to this erratic feeding as they cannot take ARV’s on an empty stomach,” Altson said.
Currently the food bill for one month is approximately R23, 000, and this is for a small bag of staples, Altson said.
As part of her report, Altson said the 2015 Lotto application was only paid in April 2017, after it was awarded in November 2016, and was at 1/10th of what the society needs to run at full strength.
Discussing new terms and conditions by the Lotto fund, Altson disclosed that the society would only be allowed to apply for funding again in 2018 so, in effect, could only look at receiving the money 18-months later.
“We will have enough money to see us through 2017 and a small part of 2018,” she said.
“I sincerely hope the work we do in the community makes a difference in all the destitute people’s lives,” said Altson.
Altson said although she has resigned as chairlady, she will still be involved in the operation of the society and be involved in regular activities.
Angus Barnard, who looks after the society’s Education portfolio, reported that everything on the educational front was going well, and that students the society had invested in were continuing their studies.
Kevin Heny, on the managing committee, thanked Altson for her dedication and hard work.
Bruce Smith, who oversees Damant Lodge on behalf of the society, reported that everything was running well. He reported the list of activities and entertainment scheduled for the year past and the fun residents have had.
The managing committee remains unchanged for the next year.
Heny also said the Goodwill Centre, zoned as a church but could also be used for recreation purpose, was available for rent.
See this week’s edition of TotT for full story, out tomorrow.