A new world-class development in Lavender Hill is set to be the catalyst for many more positive things in the area.
In September last year building commenced on a multi-million rand sports facility behind Lavender Hill High School.
The project is run by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) with help from the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) and will include football, softball and rugby fields, a hockey Astroturf and netball and tennis courts. It will also have a grandstand, clubhouse, parking facilities and a dug-out.
Although the facility is situated behind Prince George Primary School and Lavender Hill High School, it will be a shared facility, meaning schools from all over the district and beyond can make use of it.
Stacy McLean, spokesperson for Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC, Anroux Marais, said the first roll -out of a shared facility concept took place in Kraaifontein, in the Metro East District, and the second one will be this Lavender Hill facility in the Metro South District.
The third one will be rolled out in Caledon in the Overberg District and the fourth one in Malmesbury in the West Coast District.
“The plan for the facility includes the provision of one multi-coded facility in each district in the Western Cape. Each of the facilities will be aligned to the cluster approach, with the cluster being centrally situated in each district,” said Ms McLean.
She said the schools where the cluster or facility will be built is linked to existing mass participation; Opportunity and access; Development and growth (MOD) centres.
MOD is an after-school programme that provides youth with access to daily activities in recreation and sport, as well as in arts and culture.
“These centres at schools are in close proximity to each other, lending itself to the shared facility concept and approach,” said Ms Mclean.
The department also has plans to develop these facilities in the Central Karoo District, Cape Winelands District and the Eden District and hopefully many more, depending on available funding.
The projected completion for the Lavender Hill project is in June this year.
Lavender Hill High School principal Faseeg Manie was ecstatic when he first heard that the facility was being built in the area.
“This opens up a whole new world for the children of Lavender Hill and other areas. Sport and culture and extramural activities become a vehicle to counteract the scourge of gangsterism, teenage pregnancies, drugs and socio economic issues. We need to keep our youth at risk occupied and this facility will help do exactly that,” said Mr Manie.
“Many sports codes and other activities collapsed at so-called coloured schools over the years and the more privileged white schools have been able to access these because they have the swimming pools, Astroturf hockey fields and all those other facilities whereas we don’t,” he said.
Mr Manie said he and his teachers believe in developing holistic pupils.
“The link between extramural activity and academic performance goes hand in hand. I have personally see pupils’ self confidence grow when they play sport, the school improves, personality and discipline improves.
“I am excited and convinced that our schools will raise the bar in many aspects and I can see future Olympic players coming from our community who will practice and hone their skills at this facility,” said Mr Manie.
Jennifer Anthony, whose grandchildren attend Prince George Primary School, said the facility will be a beacon of hope for Lavender Hill.
“There are many good things happening in Lavender Hill and I think people forget that. Aside from the gangsterism and shootings we have good people and talented children. “I’m glad that this facility is being built here because it gives our children an opportunity to excel. Now we don’t have to make use of other facilities but we will have our own to brag about,” she beamed.