Helderberg Street People's Centre Busy Corner

Andy Loughton, 54, who owns a restaurant and bakery has started an empowering innovative bartering system for those who live on the streets of Somerset West.


Somerset West, South Africa – The maths is simple: A big municipal bag of litter buys a hot meal. Five bags equal a blanket to keep the wind and rain out.

The idea began when Loughton organised a street clean-up a year ago in exchange for a boerewors roll and a cool drink. A hundred bags of junk were collected in two hours.

Since taking up his new role as chairperson at Helderberg Street People’s Centre he decided to introduce the bag exchange idea on a daily basis.

A number of grocery stores, businesses and individuals donate food to the centre to be redistributed.

The city’s waste management sponsors the blue bags. From 08:30 am, a staff member records every individual who takes a bag and writes a number on it so that people are not encouraged to take any full bag of rubbish out of a dustbin.

“We have to create an opportunity for people to work. We have to stop feeling sorry for people and start helping them up.”

Loughton felt the process was a way to bring dignity and self-respect to those on the street, and an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty.

For more info: Helderberg Street People’s Centre or Andy Loughton can be reached at 0717274230

Andy Loughton Street Charity Somerset West Andy Loughton Street Charity Somerset West

Sources: Helderberg Street Peoples Centre
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