At Parker Cottage B&B, we are passionate about the people of South Africa and the beauty of our natural environment. We show our commitment to both in several ways:
- We are not only involved as sponsors in several social upliftment projects but we personally work in some of them too. (Community Engagement)
- We aim to source our products and services from local entrepreneurs whose products are sustainably produced (Business & Economic Development)
- We aim to run the B&B in such a way that it has minimal impact on the environment and make the most of the environment in which we operate (Sustainable Business Practices)
- We take the development of our own staff very seriously and focus on developing the skills of staff to increase their earning potential. (Employment and Staff Development)
At Parker, our staff are actively involved in several community projects. Some of these we support financially and some of these we work in ourselves.
- We donate all our old linen, towelling, crockery, bedding and soaps to The Haven Nightshelter. This organisation has shelters for the homeless across Cape Town.
- We donate at least three room nights a year in prizes to organisations around Cape Town that hold raffles or other competitions.
- We invite speakers to our weekly wine evenings/dinners at Parker Cottage from charitable organisations or businesses that operate in deprived areas. We make a contribution to the charity of the speaker’s choice.
- We support the work of Medicins Sans Frontiers every month with a donation.
Parker Cottage sponsors two scholarships at St Pauls Primary in the Bo Kaap. The scholarships are anonymous and aimed at learners who have high potential but limited financial resources. The scholarships cover the school fees of learners whose family would otherwise not be able to afford them.
Phil, one of the owners at Parker Cottage, volunteers at a local primary school in the Bo Kaap, an economically depressed area of the inner city in Cape Town every week, through The Shine Centre. The Shine Centre is a literacy NGO that focuses on increasing the literacy of ‘at risk’ Grade 2 and Grade 1 learners enabling them to pass the early grades of primary school.
We also encourage our guests to visit the Shine Centre with Phil when they stay with us. To date, we have received donations of time, books and school equipment from guests.
Parker Cottage also donated toward the purchasing of books for the school library.
Business & Economic Development
We aim to use the purchasing power of Parker Cottage to support businesses from less affluent areas and owned by historically disadvantaged families and individuals. In this regard, we:
- Buy all our electrical goods from Transignal, a 100% Black owned company in Cape Town.
- Recycle all the recyclable waste through The Salvation Army shelter: they collect the waste once a week.
- Buy all our envelopes from a project for HIV/AIDS affected people in Philippi. These are hand-made envelopes we sell in our shop and which every guests gets for their receipt.
- Actively buying products made by disadvantaged entrepreneurs to decorate the guesthouse and for our shop. We buy goods from Learn to Earn, Monkey Business, Ntom’benhle and others.
- Using Eastern Cape labour and skills in the Western Cape. For example, our caretaker, Donovan Jonkers is born and bred from the Eastern Cape. We have trained him within the guesthouse to paint, plaster, wire and plumb.
- Buy all our fruit and veg from Pappi and his sons of Happy Fruit, a company based in the Cape Flats, who bring us fresh fruit and veg from Cape Town’s Fruit Market every other morning.
- Buy all our baked goods (croissants, bread and so on) from Rosa’s Bakery, a small family-owned bakery in the Bo Kaap.
- Buy all our office stationary from Excell Consumables, a 100% black female owned business in Cape Town. Level 1 BBBEE.
- Supporting Get Stuffed Enterprises, a small local deli the way we purchase cheese and cold meat.
- We buy all our meat and non-perishables from Just Island Foods, a Level 3 BBEEE company.
- We buy our soaps and shampoos from Ecoco, a small Cape Town based company employing previously unemployed women to manufacture environmentally friendly products made from local plants and trees.
We have our own driver and guide at Parker Cottage, Chris Hannival, who we encouraged and supported to start his own transport business. He grew up in District Six (an area of Cape Town that was bulldozed under apartheid) and now runs his own transport company, of which Parker Cottage is the major client. Chris is now able to offer work to a further two drivers as a result of his affiliation with us who are all, like him, historically disadvantaged individuals.
We encourage our guests to walk to local restaurants and to spend locally. We have developed a list of local restaurants of high and consistent quality. For example:
A small family owned and operated restaurant less than two minutes’ walk from Parker Cottage, using fish caught by local fisherman.
We also support several small local businesses in the hospitality and tourism industries. For example:
A small tour operator specialising in the township tour market with a particular focus on walking through the township, not just driving through and thereby engaging with the local environment and people. Samantha and Khonaye guide guests through the area they actually live in.
Sustainable Business Practices
Parker Cottage B&B is located in a heritage building (it was completed around 1895) but our aim is to try to make it the greenest heritage building in the country. We want to show that not only new build properties can be sustainably run. In this regard, we have:
- Installed rain water butts on both sides of the house. We currently store 10 000 litres of rainwater and have plans to store much more. This water is currently used to water the gardens and also to fill our washing machines (so our linen is washed in rain water).
- Installed energy saving air source heat pumps to heat our hot water in the house. We currently have three units with a combined capacity of 18kW which heat around 1 000l of water for our showers and baths.
- Actively replacing plants from the garden with indigenous ones only.
- Actively recycling all our recyclable waste through The Salvation Army. We separate our waste at source and it is then collected and recycled by the needy in the Salvation Army stores.
- Using filtered tap water in our bedrooms, not bottled water.
- Installing energy efficient invertor heat pumps to heat and cool the bedrooms over conventional air conditioners and heaters.
Employment and Staff Development
Our permanent staff at Parker Cottage both benefit from at least 50% more than the minimum wage for the industry and many much more than that. Our temporary staff also receive at least 25% higher wages than the minimum wage for the industry. We also offer our most loyal staff permanent contracts not seasonal ones, so our staff are guaranteed work for twelve months of the year at full pay.
Our staff are actively encouraged to try their hand at new areas of the business, such as stock taking, linen control and so on. Our aim is to turn our cleaners into housekeepers into supervisors and eventually managers. When we find staff have strength in a particular area, we organise more training and build on their success.
We pay for and send every member of permanent staff on at least one training course a year in an area directly related to their daily work. As such, they are upskilled on an annual basis.
We guarantee above inflation pay rises every year.
We guarantee a Christmas bonus every year.