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Woodside Sanctuary continues to call for donations as the economy bites

Nestled within the heart of Auckland Park lies a haven dedicated to providing care for individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities.

Since its founding in 1955, Woodside Sanctuary in Auckland Park has sought to create space that serves as a haven for families who have children or adults who require specialist care and are unable to remain within the family unit.

Woodside currently provides care for 83 residents, who range in age from 4 to 67 years, and who have a variety of intellectual and physical disabilities. Of those, 22 residents are wholly reliant on Woodside for all their needs.

Woodside general manager Kirsten Williams and resident Heidi McLeod.
Woodside general manager Kirsten Williams and resident Heidi McLeod.

The sanctuary’s main objective is to provide the highest quality holistic care and stimulation for profoundly intellectually handicapped children and adults, as well as to offer help and hope to discouraged families.

General manager Kirsten Williams says, “Our holistic approach includes 24-hour nursing care, various forms of treatment, residential care (full-time and respite), daycare, and rehabilitation and stimulating programmes such as physiotherapy, stimulation therapy, music and movement therapy, learning support, and nutritional support.

Relebohile ‘Lebo’ Tladi, a resident at Woodside Sanctuary.
Relebohile ‘Lebo’ Tladi, a resident at Woodside Sanctuary.

“Fundraising in these difficult economic times has been hard with our last reserves being exhausted by caring for those who call Woodside home.”

One of her most memorable experiences when she first joined the non-profit was meeting Woodside’s ‘little matron’, Heidi McLeod. “Heidi has been at Woodside since she was two weeks old. Her mother could not cope with the fact that her daughter was disabled, and her father brought her here. Her dad did visited her a couple of times but was eventually forced to choose between Heidi and his other family. So, he chose to abandon Heidi. Heidi has known no other home except Woodside, and she has been in their care for 62 years now.

Resident and learning support Trevor Rodriques.
Resident and learning support Trevor Rodriques.

“She very flatly walked straight to me and said, ‘Hello, who are you?’ I knew right then that I was speaking to the boss. So, I told her my name, and she looked at me, evaluating every move. Then, as if deciding that I was worthy, she suddenly smiled brightly, said, ‘I love you’, and gave me the biggest hug. I felt like I had somehow managed to pass one of the biggest tests of my life.”
Resident Gary Hunt says he enjoys making artwork such as painting, jumping on the trampoline and listening to music. His friend Trevor Rodriques just enjoys helping around wherever he can.

Monica Mazibuko, the physiotherapy assistant at the sanctuary, says that one of the biggest challenges is broken equipment and a complete lack of equipment because most residents require to be in constant movement.

“We are dependent on donations for all of our equipment and medical care and budgets are being always stretched.”

Resident Gary Hunt.
Resident Gary Hunt.

Williams again humbly asks the broader community to assist them with any and everything from food, to funds to purchase or to maintain equipment and to buy expensive medications.

If you would like to donate funds or goods, call 011 726 7318; email info@woodside.co.za or visit their website here.

Related article: Community urged to come to Woodside Sanctuarys aid

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