SANCA Horizon - 60 years!
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PAST 60 YEARS.....
Mr Levy-Strauss a recovering alcoholic, and Mr. van Hoven, a businessman opened an Inpatient Treatment Centre for the Treatment of Alcoholism. On 15 September 1960 the Mayor of Boksburg convened the Inaugural Meeting of the East Rand Society on Alcoholism (today known as SANCA Horizon) The centre was based on the model implemented by Castle Carey Clinic in Pretoria (currently known as SANCA Pretoria)
The first premises were obtained from the Department of Railways and Town Council of Boksburg. A 100-year lease at a nominal rental of R2.00 per annum was granted. It was referred to as “Beyers” Bungalow, after General Christiaan Beyers, built in the late 1800’s.
Mr, Levy-Strauss was appointed as Superintendent on 1 March 1961 and his wife, Elsie Levy-Straus, the first Matron of the Clinic. 18 years later Mr. Levy-Strauss retired in August 1978. Mr. Levy-Strauss passed away on 3 July 1981.
Mr. Bill Doubell, a recovering alcoholic and patient nr. 16 assisted with the care of the patients Mr. Bill Doubell served on the Executive Board for many years. Bill ran a support group for alcoholics and their families on Friday evenings called “Bills Group”. For many years he presented a weekly group called “The Men’s Group” at SANCA Horizon for male patients in the clinic. He remained involved with Horizon until his death in 2001.
Bill met his wife Helen in Horizon, together they served Horizon for many years. Helen Doubell volunteered at Horizon as a hairdresser at first, then assisted with admissions. She was facilitating groups with Bill and became known especially for facilitating Relaxation Exercises with all the patients and the BUD group “Building up to Drink/Drug”. Helen enrolled as a Social Auxiliary Worker in the years 2000. She continued with group therapy well into her 70’s until she retired in 2016. She passed away in 2020.
Mr. van Hoven as Chairperson assisted Mr. Levy-Strauss in establishing the clinic and raising funds for the clinic until 1993. Having served Horizon for 33 years.
The South African National Council for Alcoholism (SANCA/ SANRA) has been established in 1956. East Rand Society became an affiliate of SANCA National Directorate in 1961 and obtained status as a Welfare Society, then known as SANCA East Rand Society.
In 1963 new building was acquired to meet growing need for treatment. Accommodating 18 men and 7 women. Building of a vacant boys’ hostel owned by Transvaal Masonic Educational Institution. At first rented for R25.00 per month and later purchased for R8 000.00 (municipal value R13 450.00). The premises of 17 North Street.
The “new” SANCA East Rand Society was officially opened on 31 January 1965.
During 1970 seven stands were purchased for R1 000.00.
In 1975, The Boksburg Rotary Club, donated a medical wing. Services were increased from 25 bed to 36 beds.
In 1976 the Hall was added to the premises with the help of Bill Doubell and Boksburg Rotary Club.
In 1989 the original Clinic, Beyers’ Bungalow was restored to a National Monument and used for outpatient treatment of teenagers and the Information Office. Later all services were relocated to 17 North Street, the premises known as SANCA Horizon today.
Horizon premises was fenced in 1993.
The first 2 drug patients were admitted in 1989 (both teenagers – a boy and a girl). In 1994 the first two Heroine patients were admitted.
Beyers Bungalow was there-after used as offices by Fundraisers for Horizon, Mrs. Temple. Beyers Bungalow was sold in 1996.
In 1995 SANCA East Rand Society became known as SANCA Horizon Alcohol and Drug Centre.
In 1996 a formal Adolescent Outpatient Programme was established at SANCA Horizon.
In 1999 The Bridge, Adolescent Inpatient Facility was opened with the support and funding of Rotary Club, Van Rhyn, Benoni.
The Bridge was suitably equipped to serve 8 boys and 4 girls (aged 14 years to 18 years)
The Bridge was the first treatment centre in Gauteng treating girls separate from adult women.
In 2008 a house adjacent to Horizon Centre was obtained with help of Rotary van Rhyn. “The Lodge” was renovated to a 6 bedroom Halfway House from 2009 until 2011.
The Lodge was rented as offices to SANCA National Office in 2012 until 2017.
In 2018 The Bridge was registered to accommodate 9 boys and 5 girls (14 teenagers).
In 2018 Department of Social Services contracted with Horizon to fully fund 47 Adult beds and 14 teenage beds.
With the ever-increasing need of specialize treatment of teenagers, The Lodge was renovated and registered as Hlengwani Adolescent Inpatient Facility of private and paying teenagers, accommodating 10 boys and 3 girls.
Due to the economic climate of South Africa, Non-Profit Organizations have been struggling financially. SANCA Horizon suffered financially as patient numbers dropped severely from 2014 – 2017.
In 2020 the world-wide outbreak of COVID-19 resulted in South Africa forced to a National Lockdown. Although Horizon closed doors for the Lockdown on 27 March 2020, staff returned on 1 April 2020 and admitted adult patients on 16 April 2020.
Medical Outpatient Services were established on 9 April 2020 at a Shelter in Benoni City Hall during COVID Level 5 Lockdown.
Due to logistics of SANCA Horizon and the size of dormitories and detoxification wards, The Bridge had to be used as an additional isolation centre to Horizon for adult patients.
Hlengwani was admitting funded and paying teenagers through-out COVID-stricken 2020 and 2021. COVID resulted in admission statistics to drop from 78% to a mere 59%.