Scene 6: Community Meeting Part II

Location: Methodist Church, Maitland Garden Village

Date: 15 November 2012

Authors: Andy Lamb and Edmund Eduah

Editors: Andrea DiGioia and Juliana Fekete


Key “Take- Away” Observations

  • After discussions with their respective organisations, the community representatives at the meeting stated there is a need for a help centre in the village and that they would support the efforts of the Green light project to secure a venue for a help centre.  Organizations expressed interest in knowing the process by which the Green Light Project intends to talk in acquiring the space for a Help Centre.
  • Several of the organisations have completed a profile and sent them to the WPI student team. The information obtained from these profiles will be incorporated into our proposal. They support the notion that the needs of these organisations may be supported by the Help Centre.
  • The community organizations discussed difficulties of coordinating activities and the need for better communication between each other.

Planning for the Meeting:

On Thursday, the 15th of November, representatives of MGV’s various community organisations gathered in the hall behind the Methodist Church. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the establishing of a community help centre. This was the second meeting called for this purpose and hence an agenda was drawn as follows. Basil Tommy, a member of the Green Light Project executive board, was to chair the meeting.:

Meeting Agenda:

  • Welcome and Introduction (Basil)
  • Introduction to Green Light Project (Sheila)
  • Green Light Project Programmes (Tammy)
  • Report back from MGV Organisations.
    • Garden Village Residents’ Association
    • Garden Village A.F.C
    • Friends of Daniel Kingdom Church
    • St. Athanasius Church
    • Garden Village Islamic Centre
    • Methodist Church
    • Roaring Sixties
  • Report Back from WPI teams
    • MGV Team (Andy and Juliana)
    • Black River Pathway Team (Caitlin and Tara)
  • Funding and Management of the Green light Project (Ronell)
  • General

Cast of Characters:

MGV Team, Basil Tommy, Pathway Team, Scott Jiusto, Bob Hersh, Ronell Trout, Sheila Galant, Tammy Paulse, Rene Hendricks, Avril Saunders, Dixie Hellwig, Cecelia, Letitia Michaels, Ralph Van Der Schyff, Sharon Windvogel, Naiela Baatjies. Liz Mcdaid


Action and Observations:

On Thursday, the 15th day of November, representatives of various community organisations of Maitland Garden Village reconvened at the local Methodist Church with members of the Green Light Project and their student collaborators from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in the United States. Executive member of the Green Light Project and liaison of the WPI Cape Town Project Centre, Basil Tommy, chaired the meeting. As this was a follow up from the previous meeting, a specific agenda was created and displayed by projector for members in attendance to view.

The meeting began with Basil Tommy introducing himself and the role he plays in regards to WPI and the Green Light Project, stating that he has assisted the student projects in the past and is currently a member of the executive council of the Green Light Project. At the conclusion of the introduction, Basil went on to summarize the key points of the previous meeting:

1) Consensus emerged for the need of a help centre within the Maitland Garden Village.

2) Each representative would meet with their respective organisations and return with their thoughts on the necessary aspects of the help centre.

After the introductions, Sheila Galant then spoke on behalf of the Green Light Project (GLP) as Secretary. She said that the GLP realized the community’s need for such a centre. The hope for the centre is to assist the elderly, fight drug and alcohol abuse, help assist with job searches, day-care, and potentially more. The Green Light Project originally began with 12 people and has grown to a current membership of 34. As the concern with the students leaving surfaced in the previous community organisation meeting, Sheila said that following their departure the Green Light Project would carry on with the help centre idea with leadership training from the council and a volunteer social worker on board.

Tammy Paulse then discussed the goals and programmes of the Green Light Project. After Tammy discussed the mission of the centre and explained the awareness program, Letitia Michaels noted that many of these themes had been discussed at the previous meeting, and suggested that time would be better spent discussing the management of the help centre and the views of community representatives, to which the chair agreed.

The chair asked the organisations to discuss their views of the help centre. Letitia Michaels of the Garden Village Resident Association (GVRA) explained that she had submitted to the students her report and asked for it to be brought up on the projector. Technical difficulties prevented this. She spoke on behalf of the Friends of Daniel Kingdom church and expressed support for a help centre, explaining as a community based church that they feel they may be able to make a major contribution to the centre.

Ralph Van Der Schyff of the Garden Village A.F.C (GVAFC) and the Garden Village Residents’ Association (GVRA) stated that with regards to the GVAFC, his organization supported the effort, but they would like to know more about the process by which the help centre will be managed.  Basil asked if the organisation would be willing to have its members volunteer in the effort, and Ralph said they would be willing. He also noted that the GVRA strongly believed that they should be the ones to move forward with the help centre as opposed to the Green Light Project as they are a civic organisation of the community and that they will be around as long as the village exists.  He appreciates the efforts of the organisation but in his view the Residents Association should spearhead the effort.

Basil, in response to the Resident Association, stated he wanted to make it clear the organisation does support the concept of a help centre.  He also noted the GVRA view that it should lead the efforts to create a help centre. Basil stated that in his view this was problematic.  He claimed that that GLP as a group of residents has identified a community need and was in the process of setting up the elements necessary to move forward to raise money through a registered NGO. As this will benefit the community, Basil claimed, it should not matter who is running it so long as all are able to give input into major problems and be part of the organisation. Basil noted that the GVRA does not run all of the community’s organisations and that other organizations, such as the GLP should be able to contribute to the village. Villagers who have worked together for a common goal should be able to do so through support and involvement of the GVRA. Ralph stated, in reply, that he only expressed how they strongly feel as an organisation and would like to see the process taken to begin the help centre.

Sharon Windvogel of the St. Athanasius church stated that they support the need for a help centre and would like to know the outcome before being involved. Martin of the Roaring Sixties stated their support. Rene Hendricks said that the Methodist Church was also in agreement, as shown by its sharing of resources such as the hall the meeting is taking place in.

Rene Hendricks then brought up to the attendees that the Gardenians were not represented at the meeting. They are not on the email list used by Cecelia. It cannot be assumed everyone is on the email list. It was noted that it would be beneficial to go to each organisation for future reference.

In an attempt to inform attendees about efforts that have been made in finding a venue for the help centre, Basil outlined the three options the WPI students were currently researching. 1.) For the driving range building and land,, the Green Light Project has considered going into business with the owner of the driving range if his lease is still valid and he agrees to share his space. 2.)The second option involves utilizing the rarely used rental office. though there might be an issue with the city because of possible confidential records stored on site. 3.)The third, less permanent, and less desired option would be to find an open plot of land in the community and have a container supplied.

Liz Mcdaid, of Two Rivers Urban Park (TRUP), introduced herself to the group and went on to outline the land covered by the organisation surrounding the two nearby rivers by the village. She informed attendees that TRUP supported the community projects and wanted to know how they could be of help to the community. The issue with bridge access was brought up and briefly explained. There is currently a petition meant to show the village’s need for access across the pedestrian bridge.

Following discussions on the bridge, attendees noted the difficulties of coordinating activities and the need for better communication amongst organizations in the village. With various miscommunications involving the community organisations and their projects, Rene mentioned they should all work together to resolve the issues. Protocol is that everything should be addressed at the GVRA. If the community works together, there will be no miscommunications. Basil agreed that the communication should improve, but he stated that it is not fair to say any organisation is subordinate to another, each has a right to exist. Rene explained that if projects are to be launched, it should all be through one channel. Ronell responded by promising to inform the stakeholders before performing research and surveys to prevent miscommunications.

Addressing the final agenda point, Ronell went on to explain the funding of the Green Light Project. The Green Light Project is one year old and began with no funding. Stands were made to raise money. They also painted the wall of the Methodist Church hall and conducted meetings and presentations. They are currently in the process of obtaining NGO status, which will enable the GLP to pursue government funding to help acquire the centre and to develop more programs to address the needs of the community. There is very little funding currently; the organisation relies mainly on volunteers and uses its own money at times. The Green Light Project will be looking for help from the city by means of funding, assistance, and support in making land available, hopefully through the provision of equipment.

Basil then addressed the question of the process taken by the Green Light Project to implement a help centre. The first step, he noted, is finding a venue. The second is looking for an NGO to raise funds for the programmes it requires. The final step is to look for as much involvement as well as support from the community at large.

Some attendees asked why the Green Light Project will run the help centre and not the GVRA. Basil noted that in general, most resident associations address issues such as village maintenance, rather than dealing with something as specific as a community project like the help centre.

The meeting came to a close following a statement from Avril of the Green Light Project. She spoke of her growing up in the village and all the organisations that kept her from the streets. She said that the organisations must not fight one another. The clubs and organisations are what bring people together and make the community strong. The kids want to reach out, but the fighting deters them. It is her hope that they may all come together for the sake of the community to help bring it back to the connection and pride of the people of Garden Village that had made her who she was.

Following a few more statements in respect to ending the arguments, Ronell ended the meeting with a statement of appreciation for the organisations, WPI, and Liz Mcdaid of TRUP.

Reflection and Learning

Going into this meeting, we were not quite sure what to expect. As the previous week’s meeting was very different than initially intended, we went into this with open minds. The setting had been changed from the week before without notice, disrupting the organisation of the meeting, but it seemed to work rather well by the start of the meeting. With Basil chairing  the meeting and having the Green Light Project express the key aspects of the meeting aside from organisation reports, the meeting seemed to be more structured and successful than the prior meeting. There was a slight disconnect with the review of the Green Light Project, but it was quickly addressed and the meeting was able to begin to move forward.

The support of all the organisations in regards to the help centre showed that all were aware of the various issues that must be addressed within the community and shows that there is a common interest among MGV community based organizations. There is some disagreement as to what entity should be in charge of managing the help centre. This might be a setback for the GLP in developing healthy relations with the other community organisations and hence steps have to be taken to convince all organisations that the Green Light Project is capable of managing the help centre with their involvement and support There seems to be a sense of disconnect among the varied organisations and the roles they wish to play within the community. With all working together to better Maitland Garden Village and its members, communication and support among the organisations will be greatly beneficial as the village moves forward to address key issues.




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