Heatherdale Children’s Home, a Child and Youth Care Centre, based in Athlone, Cape Town, operates under the auspices of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. At Heatherdale, we provide a safe haven for children at risk – for those whose homes are beset with financial difficulties, drug/alcohol problems or physical abuse – and who have suffered emotional trauma as a result. Our primary goal is to address the child’s trauma and equip him/her to return to his/her community and to a normal, healthy and independent life. We also assist families in addressing problems in the home, thereby helping them reunite with their children.
Currently, we cater for around 25 boys and 30 girls, aged between 4 and 18. The children are placed in our care by the Commissioner of the Children’s Court, with a social worker testifying that their home environment places them at risk. We offer a range of comprehensive programmes that encompass areas such as life skills training, therapeutic services sporting activities, spiritual development and educational support. The Home had humble beginnings, operating out of what was an old farmhouse on a spacious piece of ground made available to the church by the late Rev. T.E. Marsh (who had founded Heatherdale’s “sister institution”, Marsh Memorial Homes, 28 years earlier), and initially catering only for orphaned girls. As time went by, the needs of the community changed and Heatherdale responded to these needs, setting itself up as a place of safety for all children at risk from abuse, abandonment or neglect.