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I spent a couple of hours at St’ Laurence’s Children’s Haven over the last two weeks, with the purpose of finalising the cost of renovations and improvements to be undertaken and completed by the end of November. As you can imagine, security at the Haven is of major importance. Thanks to James Luyt who will be assisting with security upgrades to the electric fencing, installation and repair of CCTV monitors and intercom system. We are also looking at smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

With the increase in electricity tariffs and water consumption costs being a regular occurrence and the lack of government support with funding, one of the objectives is to reduce reliance on both of these. We have restored the borehole pump to working order and are looking to introduce sustainable solar energy. The general repairs and maintenance begins on Monday and includes, painting, tiling installation of cupboards, bathroom upgrades and a lot more. All of these improvements will make the children’s stay at the Haven more enjoyable and will reduce the operating costs.

After attending the 118th National Management Meeting on 8 November there were one or two points that relate to AMNF. The one that I believe will benefit both our members and future charities, is confirmation that we will be able to issue Section 18 (A) certificates. In summary, it means that donations received from either individuals or companies, for which the donor will receive a certificate, will be tax deductible and can be claimed on your tax return. The Andrew Mentis committee will discuss the implications of this and decide on how we can best utilise this concession and hopefully introduce it from January.

We also received confirmation of important dates for 2015 and it looks as though as Captain I will be doing some travelling next year. Some of the notable events are Zimbabwe Nationals in Bulawayo in May (with the tournament being reduced to 3 consecutive playing days with flag raising on the Friday), Gauteng’s 55th anniversary, Border’s 40th anniversary at the Fish River Sun in July, Southern Cape’s 30th anniversary, with the venue and date still to be confirmed and finally in November 2015, Western Province’s 50th anniversary to be played at Milnerton Golf Club.

For those of you travelling to the Natal South coast, see you all there. Looking at the numbers it seems that Gauteng Nomads will be well represented at the coast this December.