COMMUNITY CENTRE BACKGROUND AND HISTORY
In the early 1980’s three Pretoria Lions Clubs got together with the aim of building a joint Clubhouse. It was decided to build three adjoining “garages” as a start. In about 1987 a Flea Market was run from the Clubhouse to raise funds. This project became so successful and raised so much money that we decided to change the idea of a Clubhouse to a Community Centre to serve our community more effectively. A small Committee was appointed to proceed with the building of a Community Centre in the Eastern Suburbs of Pretoria. We obtained a prime site from the Pretoria City Council at a nominal rental, had plans drawn, called for tenders and commenced with the building.
The hall was large enough to seat 250 people at weddings and banquets, so we also hired the centre out for private functions to defray the expenses of a caretaker and a cleaner, as well as the upkeep, electricity, water and rates. On the 13th April, 1991, the Centre was officially opened by His Worship the Mayor of Pretoria, Councillor Bob Zylstra, at an impressive function attended by our District Governor, Lion Noel Lathleiff, eight Past District Governors and about 200 Lions, Lions Ladies, Lionesses and guests. On the 18th April, 1991, our Club held its first General Meeting in the new Board Room. The fact that we had spent so much money on building the Centre on leased property worried us, so we took a decision to purchase the property from the City Council in order to secure our assets. After negotiations, we were able to take possession of the property for a nominal amount.
We obtained a Liquor Licence and appointed a Manager, to take charge of letting the Centre out as a hall for dances, wedding receptions, parties, etc., as well as for various other uses during the week such as for Karate and Dance classes and for business meetings and lectures and charitable use whenever the opportunity arose.
Because our building is in such a strategic position, we agreed to erect a large sign board to be used for advertising purposes. This, of course, also brought in money for adverts. Subsequently this board was changed to an electronic Super Signage board so it could bring in much more funds from adverts. We then reached the stage where the Hall was booked for parties and dances virtually every Friday and Saturday evening. In recent years we were approached by Loft at Nine to rent the building for the purpose of arranging functions.
Lions still use the Board Room for General Meetings and the Hall on a few occasions during the year. Our Community Centre has come a long way and is going from strength to strength.