Knit-a-Square South Africa has some news that we believe everyone is will be interested to hear …
Today (Tuesday 11th) we will be moving downstairs in the same office block … to a bigger office on the GROUND floor. We are excited to share that the new office has a large roller-door garage type opening onto the parking area which will make for much easier loading and unloading … and NO MORE STAIRS !!!
This new office space is 150 square metres, as compared with the 100 square metres we are occupying at present in two rooms – and out of which we are already bursting, due to the large the volumes of parcels coming through each week !
We are also happy to say that our landlord has agreed to keep the basic rental cost at exactly the same level – at least until end February, in accordance with an addendum we will sign on the existing lease. Having said that, there will be an increase in costs in respect of the monthly “shared” costs which are raised in respect of utilities, rates, Wi-Fi, services, parking and so on. These must be calculated in line with the increased space … in fairness to the other tenants. There was no way to avoid this aspect, but we are hopeful that the difference will amount to no more than another R1500 per month (US$120) extra.
Speaking further about the financial situation with KAS SA …….
As is well known, in this financial year we attracted help from MedLemon to collect navy scarves and run two knitting training schools on their behalf, one in Soweto and one in Diepsloot. In support of this, we were given a sum of money as a budget to cover all the costs involved in running the training schools ourselves. We, separately, received a sum of money towards our rental costs in lieu of the scarf project (an amount which potentially gave us 3 month’s office rent in hand.)
This, coupled with the wonderful forum “Pay the Rent” campaign via PAYPAL button on the website, has been instrumental in enabling us to pay the rent each month without anxiety. Indeed, we must say how sincerely we appreciate every single donation we receive from you, our contributors.
We will, however, keep exploring other avenues of income, though at present Knit-a-Square in South Africa is in an extremely labour intensive distribution phase, and, we are not finding time to make effective inroads in this area. Hopefully, after September when the distribution workload eases off, we should be able to focus on this aspect of finding additional funding.
Feedback received from MedLemon indicates that they have been extremely happy with the way the project worked in this first, experimental operation. Nevertheless, we are by no means assured that they will want to work with us again. Nor do we feel that you, as our overseas contributor base, were entirely happy that we became involved with corporate South Africa in this way.
Certainly, we did fall far short of our initially stated target of achieving 6700 navy scarves by Mandela Day in July, which we had, with hindsight, been over-confident about ! We simply based our calculations on the thousands of squares we receive every month and did not sensibly take into account the realities.
All’s well that ends well though, of course … and Wendy had cleverly built into our training budget, a contingency amount which allowed us to buy 3000 scarves, as most of you will know by now. This means, in fact, that MedLemon themselves paid in full for those scarves, without extra financial cost to Knit-a-Square. Although we may, perhaps, allow ourselves a modicum of disappointment that not even a small amount of “fat on the bone” will have remained by the end, with which we might have rewarded Wendy after she has so loyally shouldered a massive workload in her professional capacity.
Also, it is true to say that, from October, once the training project has ended, the MedLemon budget will have dissipated to zero in our bank account, while our monthly operational costs remain at a level of between R25,000 - R30,000 (US$2000 - US$2500).
Knit-a-Square is an incredibly labour-intensive operation – currently, we are not coping on a purely volunteer basis any longer, but our costs would double if we were to “employ” expertise where needed. In order to give members a picture of operational costs, we are working to produce the true cost figure of wrapping a child in a blanket. Something, perhaps we should have done a long time ago!
We do so hope that the practical reality of Knit-a-Square’s current situation is well-received and understood by all our valued contributors – and that we can find the best way forward from here.
Let’s comfort ourselves with the knowledge that Knit-a-Square is powered by love, not only of crafting, but also for the orphaned and vulnerable children of South Africa. We can, therefore, comfort ourselves in the knowledge that there will be a way forward. Thank you.