From disused clinic to a Hub of Opportunity: The New CoCreate Hub in Stellenbosch.
For many years, a historic building in the tree-lined Victoria Street in Stellenbosch was home to a popular community clinic. When the facility closed its doors, this beautiful structure had to wait patiently for close to a decade before the time came for a dramatic make-over.
The journey started when, in 2019, the Stellenbosch Municipality awarded a ten-year lease for the building to local non-profit organisation, Ranyaka Community Transformation. The vision: To transform a clinic which once nurtured the physical health of local communities into a multifunctional facility where local community entrepreneurs can access affordable working, trading and retail spaces; a space where Stellenbosch residents and visitors can eat local, shop local and experience a sense of connection with communities from all across town. In addition, NGOs with a job creation or enterprise development mandate will have access to a facility where they can provide training and mentorship services.
BUCO saw the immense potential of the project and came on board as one of the primary donors in 2019. The company donated a wide range of building materials to help make this transformation possible – from doors, skirtings, lintels, concrete, cornices, copper pipes, tiles, rhino board, paving, paint and varnish to water tanks, basins, sinks, geysers, paving, postform tops, plumbing pipes and accessories, and more. Financial support to the amount of some R2,6m came from funders that included the Industrial Development Corporation, Stellenbosch University, Jannie Mouton Foundation, Nedbank and Entersekt. Ranyaka also ran a local crowdfunding campaign which was supported by Stellenbosch residents.
EVERY DAY, A SURPRISE
This was not your average makeover. The disused building had fallen into a state of disrepair. The project team faced the challenge of repairing the damage and creating a visually appealing, multi-functional space whilst at the same time, retaining the historic integrity of the building.
“Working on a historic building brings new surprises every day,” says local project manager, Will Hammers. As the work unfolds, you never know what you are going to discover. “For example, one expects to find a concrete floor underneath a cement floor topping. In one room, we removed the topping – and there was no floor underneath! And because the walls aren’t straight, it’s a challenge to attach a straight piece of timber to it,” he adds. This makes for interesting work when it comes to the installation of cornices and skirtings.
There are, however, pleasant surprises too. When the plaster was removed, the team discovered beautiful brickwork, which has now been left exposed. Other hidden gems included lovely arches and rustic timber lintels that had been hidden by the plaster. These too have now been left exposed to feature the interesting textures, striking focal points and a stunning juxtaposition between the old and the new – tangible bits of history alongside freshly painted white walls, contemporary fittings, modern glass stack doors and roof windows that allow the light to stream in.
“In line with Ranyaka’s commitment to promoting local economic inclusion, preference was given to local B-BBEE micro or small contractors who reside and/or operate their businesses within the municipal boundaries of Stellenbosch,” says Marli Goussard, who has been driving the Hub project since day one and heads up the Building Business (enterprise development) programme at Ranyaka.
In July, the CoCreate Hub will open its doors to entrepreneurs who would otherwise not have had access to a centrally located trading, retail or training space in Stellenbosch. It will also welcome visitors who are committed to support local. Even more so, the Hub will unlock opportunity and connection. The old clinic will once again become a place of nurture, but this time, one which nurtures the town’s entrepreneurial spirit in every sense of the word.
Read more about this project here: https://ranyaka.co.za/entrepreneurship-hub/