Why do we need this centre?
Darling is a village consisting of 10,000 people, 4,000 of whom are under the age of 18. A majority of the population live in RDP houses. As with many housing projects of this kind there are very few communal facilities available. Unemployment and the prevalence of drugs, violence, crime, alcohol abuse and HIV/AIDS pose major challenges to the community at large, in particular to the youth. The lack of any leisure infrastructure and facilities to support an active and healthy lifestyle is contributing significantly to their vulnerability and prevents them from reaching their full potential. The Early Childhood Development Centre, which will form part of Phase 1B, will serve a critical need in Darling. There are over 1000 children under the age of 5 in Darling, but only 200 of them are enrolled in a preschool. Parents are often unwilling or unable to equip their children for school with the result being that during these crucial developmental years many children are not given the support and education that they so desperately need. The existing Government Clinic has limited facilities. As often happens in poorer communities, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS has stigmatised the clinic. Many people do not want to be tested for HIV/AIDS at the existing clinic. The Centre will be integrated with the clinic and have a shared entrance to assist in the destigmatization of the clinic which will now become part of a larger community centre.
Why a swimming pool?
- Based on a community consultation process, the immediate priority for 2009 will be the construction of a swimming pool. This will be followed by an early childhood development centre and a multi-purpose activities room. The next priority (for 2010) will be the further upgrading of the infrastructure and facilities of the existing clinic which is an ongoing process.
- Summers in Darling are very hot with temperatures often near 40 degrees Celsius. The Darling Trust is a community driven organization and we were also guided by the community who expressed a clear preference for the pool as a first priority.
- A swimming pool itself does not prevent HIV/AIDS or lower levels of crime, but it encourages a lifestyle, which is healthy and safe through building self-esteem and healthy bodies and minds.
- Rural areas continue to lag behind in terms of service delivery and facilities and Darling is no exception.
- By providing healthy alternatives, it will be possible to reduce the incidence and negative impact of violence and crime.
- Diabetes and heart conditions are a major problem for the older people living in Darling. It is not only the youth that can benefit from this swimming pool.
The centre will cater for people with disabilities.
What will the centre include?
The site for the construction of the Darling Health and Sport Centre is situated between the clinic and the RDP houses. The first phase will be constructed right next to the clinic in a way, which will create a single shared entrance for both the pool complex and the clinic. This is aimed at assisting in the removal of the stigma associated with visiting the clinic which is currently an isolated facility standing on its own. The centre and all its facilities, including the small pool, will provide access to people living with disabilities. Construction will be done in two phases to allow for flexibility depending on the availability of funding.
Phase 1A includes:
- A quarter Olympic size swimming pool with racing lanes.
- A small pool for children learning to swim. Wheelchair access will also be provided for into the small pool.
- A pool complex building incorporating:
- Ablution facilities.
- A pool pump-house.
- Caretaker accommodation.
- A controlled entrance area.
- The frame and roof structure for the adding of the early childhood development centre and an activities room (see phase 1A on the site plan) will also be provided for to enable the adding of these facilities as soon as funding is secured and without impacting on the use of the pool area.
- A modular 2,1m high concrete wall around the periphery of the complex.
- A shade structure for protection against the sun.
- A fence separating the grounds of the areas planned for the early adulthood learning centre and activities room from the pool area.
- The preparation of the grounds and planting of grass.
The costs for the completion of this first phase of the project is R1 900 000. Construction has commenced and is planned to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2009. A total of R1 530 000 has already been secured which will be used to commence with construction whilst fund-raising for the short-fall of R370 000 will continue.
Phase 1B includes:
- A multi-purpose indoor open space activities room for educational, health and fitness training such as karate, aerobics, yoga, dance classes etc.
- An early childhood development (ECD) centre for the development of pre-school children and ensuring their school readiness.
The costs for the completion of phase 1B is R350 000 for the ECD centre and R300 000 for the activities room, a total of R650 000. Construction is planned to commence in the fourth quarter of 2009 or as soon as sufficient funding is secured. Subject to the availability of funds the planned completion is during the first quarter of 2010.
The medium-term priorities for 2010 after the completion of both phases 1A and 1B will include the ongoing upgrading and improvement of the infrastructure and facilities of the existing clinic.
The long-term priorities include the addition of an open outdoor sport area consisting of a soccer field, basketball court and skate-boarding park. This further phase will be dependent on available funding at the time.
A summary of the short-term costs and funding requirements
We have in the bank…
We still need (shortfall)
||R1 900 000
||R1 530 000
|1B ECD Centre
|1B Activities Room
|R2 550 000
||R1 530 000
||R1 020 000
What is the role of the Swartland Municipality?
The Swartland Municipality has made land available for both the immediate and longer-term components of the Darling Health and Sport Centre. They have been consulted on the project from the outset, have given it its full support and will be involved throughout the process. Once completed, the municipality will take over responsibility for the running of the centre as part of its infrastructure and community development. The training of all staff and employment will occur through the structures of the Swartland Municipality.
Who are the architects?
The architectural support for the project is being provided by R & L Architects who have kindly offered to provide their services for free as part of their social responsibility programme. R & L Architects, a very reputable company, are also responsible for the Mbombela 2010 Soccer World Cup stadium in Mpumalanga. The design of the first stage of the Health and Sport Centre and the building plans have been completed and approved by the Swartland Municipality.
How is Darling getting involved?
The Centre will not only consist of physical infrastructure, but also initiatives such as youth development programme's, health education, swimming lessons, first aid training, sport training, HIV/AIDS testing and education etc. These initiatives will be undertaken in collaboration with community organizations and representatives. With regard to fundraising, individuals and organisations in Darling have become involved in a variety of ways from holding raffles to organising bake sales.