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Volunteers help elderly with DIY

Senior citizens in Bothasig will soon be able to make use of a unique service which involves handymen, or women, coming to their homes to do DIY projects.

Derek Antonio Serra, a local resident, is the founder of the initiative.

“The idea of starting a community handymen, handywomen group was prompted by a Facebook post I saw before Christmas asking people to make a wish for something they needed, rather than wanted.

“An elderly lady commented that there were some elderly people who needed basic repairs done to their houses because they were either too old, or did not have the money to hire someone to help them,” Serra explains.

He launched the Handymen, women initiative around Christmas 2019 with a similar post, asking for volunteers to join.

“Once I had a reasonable workforce of around 15 people with a wide range of expertise, I decided to link the initiative to the Bothasig’ Residents Association (BRA) where I am a committee member,” Serra says.

He says the response on the various Facebook groups for Bothasig and surrounding areas have been overwhelming, with so many people wishing them well and supporting the idea.

Currently there are 24 volunteers who have joined the group. They also have a WhatsApp group where Serra post requests for assistance which allows for easy communication with the volunteers.

“I plan to launch a few more initiatives during the year to build community spirit and to encourage residents to help one another.”

The Serra-family moved to Bothasig in 1965.

“I have fond memories of the strong community spirit that existed in our suburb in the 1960s and 1970s.

“We need to re-ignite that sense of togetherness in Bothasig, and of course in our entire country.

“We need to get out into the community, into our public spaces, onto our streets and enjoy the suburb that we have, so together with the BRA we plan to organise community events and activities in our parks and streets during 2020. This initiative is just the start,” Serra says.

He encourages people in other areas to copy the idea. “I am happy to advise them on how best to launch it in their areas. South Africa is going through a tough time, and as communities, we will only survive if we help each other. No money is expected, only one’s time.”

Work for the elderly in need will be done on the following basis:

  • They can assist people aged 60 years and older who are Sassa card holders.
  • Each request for assistance will be assessed to establish the need of the elderly person.
  • In cases of extreme need no call-out fee or labour charge will be levied. The only cost will be for parts, and, or spares that may be required. Volunteers would just appreciate a cup of coffee or tea.

In cases of lesser need, where the elderly person can afford to pay for labour, the call-out fee will be waived to keep the costs down.

“We would thus like to encourage any elderly resident who lives in Bothasig, to contact us if they require maintenance assistance through this initiative. Friends and relatives are also welcome to contact us on behalf of the needy elderly resident as well.

“I will come out and see what work needs to be done and then request assistance from our volunteers. We cannot guarantee assistance in all cases, but we will try our best to help,” says Serra.

  • To get involved as a volunteer or to request the service WhatsApp Serra on 082 554 4315.
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