We suspect this December will be different from last, for most. Aspects of our lives are still altered, and we’re still adjusting to the bits of freedom we’ve got back. Some things, like our AGM, never change. Each year we reflect on what we’ve achieved, how we can improve, and where we’ll put our focus in the coming year. Though 2020 was so different in many ways, our AGM felt pretty similar to previous years; it was a celebration of what people can achieve when they come together even in the face of an extremely challenging year.
The successes we celebrated at our eighth annual AGM wouldn’t have been possible without our invaluable partners. This year we collaborated closely with the City of Cape Town, SAPS, NGOs and CID levy payers to make progress in our area even amidst the COVID-19 chaos. We are so grateful for their continued partnership.
Our work with MES became even more important in the face of the pandemic. MES General Manager, Ilse Maartens, spoke about the power of this connection. “Operationally, the VRCID helped us feed 1 200 people per day. They also helped us distribute almost 700 food parcels to families in need,” Ilse said.
As the virus swept around the globe, we focussed on the local needs which intensified around us. Our Chairman, Hardus Zevenster, commended the work of all involved with the VRCID in this challenging time. “This has been no ordinary year,” he said. “The VRCID has been under increasing pressure, and even more so in the first part of 2020, because we’re seen as the first responder despite our mandated role as a top-up service, all whilst grappling with reduced resources.”
The VRCID allows local businesses and residents to contribute to their area. We help you to develop your own surroundings. Though we continued to provide the top-up services which improve our area in terms of safety, cleanliness and security, we stepped up to do much more this year. When the COVID-19 crisis took hold, our board acted to swiftly release funds and support the urgent social response in Belville and Parow to ensure people could access food and shelter.
Our funding also provided a 1 375% increase in job creation for MES workers, a 13% increase in VRCID-assisted arrests, and a 21% increase in kgs of litter collected by our cleansing team, with 503 700kgs collected. We’re proud to celebrate these statistics which reflect a cleaner, safer and more secure community.
Our Social Development team and NGO partners have also been extremely busy working to assist those on the streets. In this year, since July 2019, we have made contact with 5 829 vulnerable or homeless people, placed 184 people into shelters (a 36% increase against last year), distributed 877 food parcels and sponsored 880 Safe Space sleeping and MES food vouchers.
The AGM wasn’t the only celebration of our successes this year. We were also awarded a top industry honour in September by The International Downtown Association of Washington, D.C. We were recognised with the Pinnacle Award, and wish to dedicate this accolade to the hard work of all our team members, partners, and levy contributors. Together, we have made a better area.
We look forward to building on these successes in 2021, and always stand ready to help you in any way we can.