What is happening with the Night Shelter? This is the question which has been on the lips of numerous people in Hermanus after a few months of apparent inactivity at the site. But behind the scenes there has been a lot going on.

Negotiations were taking place between a group of friends of the Hermanus Night Shelter Association (HNSA) and Pretoria Portland Cement Limited (PPC) which has resulted in an agreement whereby PPC would partner with HNSA as part of their Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiative.

PPC is a proudly South African company which has been operating in the building industry for more than 127 years and employs over 2 500 people nationally. Their brand ethos is ‘Strength Beyond’ and the quality and correct use of the product is of utmost importance.

Realising the value of an overnight shelter within the Hermanus area, the company has decided to invest in this project in order to assist in skills development and the upskilling of workers in the construction industry within the community. In so doing, people are empowered to experience a better quality of life and to uplift the community in which they live.

Under this initiative PPC has committed to an educational on-site workshop during which a technical specialist will pass on knowledge on the product range offered, the correct mixtures for varying applications, the use of ‘hardeners’ etc. Quality control is extremely important and since this is beyond the control of the manufacturer once the product is sold, workshops such as this will go a long way to increasing proper procedures on the building site.

Approximately 30 local community members will be invited to attend a one-day workshop on 21 November to receive on-the-job training, putting into practice the theoretical knowledge gained by plastering the shelter walls and casting the concrete floor of the shelter guardhouse. PPC has committed to supplying all the cement products for the workshop through the Kaap Agri outlet. At the end of the workshop attendees will receive a certificate from PPC confirming their attendance and satisfactory practical completion of the workshop.

PPC considers it important to invest in community projects such as the Night Shelter which is desperately needed; while HNSA stressed the tremendous benefit this will have upon completion of the project. It is hoped that this may show the way to other local businesses in forging partnerships to become involved in the completion of the project. In supporting local businesses, employment is safeguarded and this enables the companies to give back to the communities through investment, as PPC is doing.

ADT Fidelity Hermanus has also come to the party by providing a security system at an affordable price with monitoring and armed response included in the deal. The next step will be the completion of the guardhouse in order to secure the building and to install the security control panel in the guardhouse. The fitment of windows and doors is next on the agenda to enclose the main shelter and secure it against the elements and intruders.

“It must be stressed that it is only due to the generosity of members of the community who support the shelter with their donations, both financial and material, that the project will be driven to its conclusion. To them we extend our eternal thanks and sincere gratitude,” says Ray Hartman of the HNSA.

Please support the HNSA street collection on Saturday, 7 December and show that you ‘Have a Heart for the Homeless’. If you are willing and able to volunteer, contact 083 731 0678 as there are still some locations available for the street collection.

The HNSA can be contacted on nightshelterhermanus@gmail.com or visit www.hermanusshelter.co.za

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