By Werner Swart
It’s going to be a sad day as Benoni’s oldest service centre for the aged closes at the end of this month. The Constantia Service Centre in Cranbourne Avenue- which opened 24 years ago in the historical building that used to be the Whitehouse Hotel-has been the target of many burglaries during the past year and a decision was recently taken to sell the centre to neighbours Kids Haven. Veronica Alberts, who has been serving the centre for the past 20 years as community social worker, said the time has come for the centre to close.
There have been too many burglaries to remember and we can’t go on like this,” Alberts said.
“It will be a sad day, but I do believe that chapters close.” She added that fewer and fewer elderly people have been visiting the centre, mainly because of the fact that not many people do their shopping in the CBD anymore.
Alberts and the staff will soon move to offices in Rynpark. Leonard Schoeman, who heads a Bible study group at the centre, said it is a pity that the centre is closing down, but “the Lord will provide for us.”
Other visitors, such as Tillie Opperman and Joey Helen. were not as optimistic.
“We don’t know where to go when this place closes. We have been coming here for many years and not everyone has transport to take them to Rynpark everyday,” they said.
Dolly Muller and Fransic van Niekerk, two volunteers at the centre, said the Constantia centre has meant so much to so many people that its closing down could be seen as a tragedy.
at the same time excited about the new development. Kids Haven’s Moira Simpson said they are also sad but at the same time excited about the new development. They will firstly use the building for administration purposes and will also move their kitchen. Other plans are in the pipeline, which include a new playground for the children.
“We will do our best to accommodate the elderly, which is why the hairdressers will stay and we will also look into the possibility of providing meals,” Simpson said.
The Constantia Service Centre will be having one last party next Wednesday to end an era.