At Parker Cottage Guest House, we are passionate about the people of this country and their development. We show our commitment in several ways:
* We are not only involved as sponsors in several social upliftment projects but we personally manage and have founded some of them too. (Community Engagement)
* As far as possible, we only buy our produce and services from local disadvantaged entrepreneurs (Business & Economic Development)
* We take the development of our own staff very seriously and focus on developing the skills of staff from disadvantaged areas to increase their earning potential. (Staffing and employment)
* We employ more staff than we actually need to spread employment and access to a better life for as many families as possible. (Staffing and employment)
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. One of our most visible projects is our support of The Haven Nightshelter. The shelter has 'passports', small pieces of plastic which allow homeless individuals free entry to the shelter where they receive a meal, a bed and a shower. Every guest at Parker Cottage gets a 'passport' to hand out to whoever they feel is in need of it. In this way, our guests themselves become actively involved in social upliftment even when they are on holiday.
Parker sponsors two scholarships at Ntaba Maria Primary School in the Eastern Cape. This flagship primary school was where Phil taught for several years. The scholarships are anonymous and aimed at learners who have high potential but limited financial resources. They cover fees, uniforms, transport and some books.
Phil volunteers at a local primary school in the Bo Kaap, an economically depressed area of the inner city in Cape Town, for a couple of hours a week. His focus is on increasing the literacy of the Grade 7 learners from other African countries or parts of South Africa in support lessons he designs for them to compliment their existing curriculum.
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.
* Buy all our envelopes from a project for HIV/AIDS affected people in Philippi. These are hand made envelopes we sell in our shop.
* Actively buying Eastern Cape products to decorate the guesthouse and for our shop (for example, a set of five wood prints from an art student at Rhodes University Grahamstown.)
* Using Eastern Cape labour and skills in the Western Cape. For example, our caretaker, Donovan Jonkers is born and bred from the Eastern Cape.
* Buy a lot of our furniture and decorative items from Funky Junk, a Port Alfred (Eastern Cape) based antique shop.
* Buy all our fruit and veg from Pappi and his sons (see picture on the left!) who deal in organic produce from local farms.
* Buying the cut flowers for the guesthouse from local street vendors, not chain stores
* Supporting local farms and shops in the way we purchase breakfast supplies, particuarly cheese, cold meat, bread and dairy products.
Wherever possible, we use supplies from local entrepreneurs and actively seek links with small organic suppliers, particularly from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. Typical examples are:
We only buy our flowers from local street sellers not from chain stores
As often as possible, our fruit is delivered daily by local tradesmen from the Woodstock community. The majority of this produce is organically grown.
We buy our soaps and shampoos from Jade and Ecoco, two small Cape Town based companies employing previously unemployed women to manufacture environmentally friendly products made from local plants and trees.
We have a great relationship with Walk In Africa, a company offering walking tours of central Cape Town and elsewhere in Africa. You can find out more about them at www.walkinafrica.com.
Other Tours and Transfers
We have our own driver at Parker Cottage, Chris Hannival, who 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.
Staffing and employment
Our permanent staff at Parker Cottage both benefit from at least 100% more than the minimum wage for the industry, stipulated by the state. Our temporary staff also receive at least 25% higher wages than the minimum wage for the industry.
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 maids into housekeepers into managers with staff who work for them. When we find staff have strength in a particular area, we organise more training and build on their success.
Our longest-serving staff member, Babalwa Ngombane, is now our Senior Housekeeper, having started here as a cleaner less than three years ago. She is now in training up to be an Assistant Manager. A single mother of four, she now finally has an opportunity to learn a new more responsible role which will empower her to earn more and be more mobile in her employment.
We encourage our guests to walk to local restaurants and to spend locally. Particular links we’ve made are with:
A small family owned and operated restaurant less than two minutes walk from Parker Cottage, using fish caught by local fisherman.
Camissa Tours www.gocamissa.co.za
A small tour operator specialising in the township tour market with a particular focus on walking through the township, not driving through. Samantha and Khonaye guide you through the area they actually live in.
With a local tour operator, we actively promote 2, 5 and 7 day hikes across Table Mountain staying in lodges built from alien vegetation and supporting conservation efforts in the peninsula’s National Parks.
We’ve made a link with this activity tour operator who specialise in cycling, abseiling and other natural environment activities in the Western Cape