40 YEAR BIRTHDAY
LifeLine Vaal Triangle turns 40 years old this week. LifeLine Vaal is one of 18 centres in South Africa. Most of the centres were established by Methodist Ministers and Vaal was no exception. Some like minded, caring individuals got together and received a Personal Growth Course in Sasolburg at the Methodist Church, in order to become Lay Counsellors when the new Centre was opened in January 1984. People like Anne and Geoff Sperring, Sue Thonell, Rev Rudyard Harrison, Elma Hunter and Alan Stork were trained. There were others as well, whose names we do not have offhand. Anne Sperring became the first Director. Alan Stork took the very first call which was from a young boy who had lost his tortoise and needed consoling! LifeLine Vaal started off as a 24/7 telephone counselling service. Lay Counsellors did 24/7 duties on a three-shift roster basis and the night shift counsellor spent the night at the Centre. The Centre was in CW5 in Vanderbijlpark. In 1988 LifeLine established Bella Maria – a Shelter for abused women – and Maria van Heerden was the first Housemother. Bella Maria was later changed – in 2012 – to LifeLine Shelter. In those early days there was a LifeLine Crisis team on call 24/7. The SAPS used this team on numerous occasions for Domestic Violence and Suicide call outs. In 1998 we found ourselves in a dire financial situation and had to sell our property in CW5. A good samaritan – in the form of Richard Dixon – secured our current premises.
We are no longer only a telephone service we provide much more than that now. LifeLine Vaal also added more Wellness Centres to assist the communities who could not access our services in Vereeniging. We have Centres in Sharpeville, Sebokeng, Palm Springs and Sicelo and will shortly be opening one in Evaton.
Sadly, these days all of the fighting for roster space to do duties is gone! We don’t have many counsellors doing duties at our Duncanville Centre, although we still provide a 24/7 telephone service, we do many more Face2Face counselling sessions. People prefer to see us rather than phone – probably because cellphone counselling can be expensive. LifeLine still offers training and other services such as HIV testing and trauma debriefing. We provide 24/7 psychosocial services at the Kopanong Thuthuzela Care Centre – a one-stop medico-legal facility for victims of Sexual Violence (Rape) and Domestic Violence. We also provide the psychosocial services at Ithembalethu Forensic Facility at the Heidelberg Hospital – also a 24/7 Centre.
We currently have a very large GBV programme – offering prevention and response services to young and adolescent girls aged bewteen10-24 in the Sedibeng communities – Lesedi, Sedibeng and Midvaal.
Call LifeLine – 24/7 – for any further information on 016 428 1640