Woodside Sanctuary was founded by parents with a handicapped child in 1955, in a small maternity home in Yeoville. They found the prospect of placing their baby in an institution unacceptable so the Matron of the Woodside Maternity Home offered to care for this baby along with a few others similarly afflicted. This young couple visited their baby daily, getting to know the parents of the other parents, their fears and their feelings.
It was a great shock when the Department of Health declared the building a fire hazard and closed it down. The parents decided to do something about it themselves. They formed a committee and in 1959 purchased a Herbert Baker House in Cottesloe, Auckland Park.
The ground was leased from the City Council on a 99 year leasehold system. Organisations such as Round Table, etc., helped financially. Funds were raised from all over South Africa and babies arrived from all parts of the country. However, the babies grew and needed more space.
In 1967 a new wing to accommodate 24 more children was added, funded by the Monday Club. This proved to be inadequate and another wing was built in 1969, this was financed by the Round Table. The Sanctuary could then house 80 children.
In the mid 1980’s the municipality sold the two properties to Woodside at a reasonable price and on the 25th of November 1987 another milestone was attained. A new, large extension was opened by the then Minister of National Health and Population Development, Dr W A van Niekerk. A loan from the Government and donations from far and near made a dream come true for everyone connected with the Sanctuary. This extension enabled us to extend further our desire to help stricken families with handicapped children and offer accommodation for a further 64 such families.
Today we are even more determined to continue our service to those who come to us asking for help and care. We also assist others who are less fortunate than us by offering Training Workshops and Follow-up support to NGO’s and CBO’s operating in disadvantaged areas. Our intervention has a ripple effect within the communities who are in desperate need of training and facilities. By helping to skill staff and people who work with physically and intellectually challenged children from underserviced areas we are addressing a community programme for which there is a demand and need.
Below is a picture of Woodside in 1967′