The William Herbert Sports Grounds (WHSG), in Rosmead and Ottery Roads, Wynberg’s Municipal Facilities Management Committee (MFMC) are frantically trying to raise funds to keep the 88 year old facility in operation.
The MFMC came up with a strategy to raise substantial funds for the ongoing development and maintenance of the facility, by exploiting valuable advertising opportunities at the grounds for businesses. They earmarked the “FF” and “A” fields as well as the name and fixtures boards for businesses to advertise at a nominal cost.
Abe Taylor, project manager of this initiative said : “We worked long and hard to get the necessary mandates and agreements in place, and now we are happy and excited at the prospect of actualizing this goal to literally benefit thousands of young people and adults from the surrounding communities.”
He said they have been visiting businesses in the area to ask them to come on board. “Many of the businesses were keen and about five of them committed to this idea.”
He said some of the businesses thought he was asking for donations but “we wanted them to advertise their business while making a long term investment and the money they spend will be for the development of the facility,” which served the community for many years.
The WHSG was established in 1929. In the late thirties, CDFA (Cape District Football Association) signed a lease with the City of Cape Town. During the first years the facility catered for sporting codes such as cricket, tennis, netball, baseball , softball and badminton. The Dove’s Club, a social initiative for seniors, was also based at the sports grounds. The grounds gained the reputation for being a premier sports and social venue for thousands of people from the surrounding communities. One of the events that the grounds will be remembered for is the Mardi Gras, which started way back in the 60s. In addition, the venue hosted the annual Toy Run, the circus, local and provincial and national sports events and tournaments, as well as many surrounding schools for athletics practise.
Today, besides soccer, the WHSG caters for seven other codes like running, walking, netball, fitness, softball, dog training and choir/band.
Over time, the facility underwent numerous changes in terms of its management model. Initially managed by the CDFA, a Sports Board of Control was established in the 1930s. As the various codes moved to alternative venues in other areas, soccer remained the dominant sports code that remained at the grounds.
In 2006, the MFMC, representative of all the codes based there, became the custodians of the facility. The current chairperson of the William Herbert MFMC is Ms Maritha Williams who said: “One of the greatest challenges confronting us is the upkeep of the grounds, the general management of the facility and the growing sporting and socio-economic needs of our clubs and communities,”
Ms Williams said raising funds for these needs are essential to provide an effective and efficient service. “Due to the favourable location and size of the grounds, the MFMC embarked on a strategy to generate substantial income for the ongoing development and maintenance of the facility.”
Mr Taylor said they earmarked the “FF” and “A” fields for businesses to advertise annually at a low cost. The advertising will be around the perimeter of the fields, on printed Chromatek Boards 3m x 900mm mounted on a 25mm light steel frame with aluminium cover strips.
A sales team will approach local and corporate business to advertise here. This is the MFMC’s biggest income generating project to date and there is every indication that it will yield outstanding results.
Ms Williams said: “The William Herbert Sports Facility is one a well known landmark in Cape Town.”
Some of the clubs who use the grounds agreed that William Herbert is a central location for everyone around the area.
Rayhanna Gertze, who runs a free bootcamp fitness club said she used to operate at a wellness centre in Wynberg, but since they have been at William Herbert, the attendants increased from 150 to 200 people. “People come with their children and they can exercise while their children do homework.”
Ms Gertze said the is helping with the campaign to raise funds by asking her members who mostly own businesses to take out advertising boards.
Edgar Wilmore, of K9 training club are operating at the grounds every Sunday morning. “I’ve been at these grounds way back when he used to play soccer for Devonshire Rovers, at William Herbert.”
He has been been with dog clubs for 15 years at the field. “I have no trouble with the management of the facility and I am willing to attend all meetings regarding the development of the field.”
Mr Taylor said the facility is frequented by more than 500 000 people annually. “The SASSA (Wynberg) offices are also located here and being situated next to the Kromboom Parkway (M5) the grounds have a high visibility for motorists travelling on this busy freeway. The Living Standards Measure (LSM) range of the people frequenting the venue is 5-9, thus making it a highly viable advertising venue.”
Interested businesses can contact Abe Taylor on 083 435 3577 or they can call the William Herbert MFMC office on 021 797 6815.