Turf project for Constantia Primary

Carryn Wiltshire, Meredith Wilson and Brad Bing discuss their goal to bring AstroTurf to the Constantia Primary School.

A mud bath in winter, a dust bowl in summer, the field on the corner of Spaanschemat River and Ladies Mile roads is where Constantia Primary School children are supposed to play sport.

Instead, this Friday, February 17, the pupils will be bused to Constantia Academy for an inter-house sports day. They can’t hold the event at their own school because of the lack of sports facilities

Now three people are coming to the school’s aid, raising money to lay AstroTurf on the dirt field at a cost of R650 000, and they’re more than half way to meeting their target.

One of the people behind the plan is Noordhoek resident Brad Bing. He owns Sporting Chance, a Newlands-based organisation that has helped the school in the past. He drives past Constantia Primary every day and sees the children playing in the dust.

“We can’t have this in the heart of Constantia,” he said.

Carryn Wiltshire is the organiser of the Constantia Wine and Food Festival, which has helped the school refurbish its library and hired extra teachers.

Meredith Wilson, of PSG Asset Management, got involved after meeting the builder who renovated the school’s toilet.

Ms Wiltshire said there was a misconception that Constantia Primary, which was established in 1910, was a well-to-do school, because of its name, but many of the parents of its 250 pupils were farm workers who battled to pay the annual school fees of R400 a pupil.

The school only gets in about 60 percent of those fees and the Western Cape Education Dpartment (WCED) subsidises meals for the children because many of them haven’t eaten when they arrive at class.

Daniel Bornman, the school’s principal, said dust kicked up on the dirt field caused illnesses and breathing difficulties for pupils and teachers alike. He is holding thumbs that the AstroTurf project will become a reality.

“If this happens I will be the happiest man on earth. Children should be able to play and enjoy their sport and we can also have our inter-house sport matches here,” he said.

Some R350 000 has already been pledged towards the project and now Mr Bing, Ms Wiltshire and Ms Wilson are appealing for public donations to make up the balance. They are also raising money for paving and a small shelter for the wet winter months.

If you would like more information contact Brad Bing at brad@sportingchance.co.za or 021 683 7299.