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Manyano on the brink of collapse

“I don’t believe it is God’s plan for us to close, but we really are struggling.”

So says Tony Litchfield, general manager of the Manyano Centre in Paarl North.

The Methodist Church-owned NGO has provided affordable accommodation to visiting church, school and sports groups for nearly 30 years, before being crippled by the Covid-19 lockdown.

They also provide free holiday sport programmes to uplift the community with some support from government that does not cover all the expenses.

Sadly, they have had to let 14 of their 17 staff members go with the remaining personnel working on a 70% salary. This is still not enough to keep their business going and they now face the daunting prospect of having to shut down at the end of January.

As such, Litchfield has made a passionate plea to the public to help them keep afloat. “We are in a tough place … it’s not something I like to do [but] today I put out on Facebook for 200 people to pay us R200 each that’s R40 000 that will help us get through,” said Litchfield.

“Over the years we have managed to build up some finances we’ve paid off the bond and everything. But we only had about three months money in the account to keep us going.”

Former Springbok player Louis Koen has a rugby academy in Stellenbosch and aims to expand into Paarl in January next year via the Manyano Centre. Unfortunately, the centre does not have sufficient funds to cover their running costs.

“It’s an old building; you can’t stop doing maintenance otherwise it starts to fall apart. So, we are in a tough place. We have had small amounts of business but not enough to help us going.”

The Manyano centre is of great service to the community by accommodating approximately 150 people during their holiday programmes.

They usually don’t charge them, because these groups don’t have a lot of funds. These groups range from sport teams to groups that train people to be home carers or nurses at home.

“It’s sort of like a hotel conference centre, but I don’t want to budget for people who can’t afford to pay.”

The way the 45 bedroom-centre generates funds is by means of donations.

“That has helped us to fund the programmes that we have done. We have boxing here for mainly community people. We have soccer, rugby and other programmes going on. But we are in a tough place and I just want people to know what’s going on.” Anyone who would like to assist the Manyano Centre can contact Tony Litchfield on 084 515 1416.

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