A house in Berea that has belonged to Talk Radio 702 since the early 1990s, has been handed over to Sisters of Mercy to continue the legacy of grassroots community intervention.
The Mercy Centre, which has been operating from the site in Berea since 2005 is a place of refuge for women needing care, with residential facilities on site. It also serves as the base for a number of skills development projects.
The property has been owned by Primedia Broadcasting and leased, at no cost to the Sisters of Mercy. Following a request made by the Sisters to make some alterations, the broadcaster decided to hand over the premises.
The centre has a history of community service, starting in the turbulent 1980s when a then young station, 702, identified a need for a helpline to counsel listeners through difficult issues. The helpline was so busy that a walk in Crisis Centre was started in rented premises in Hillbrow. The Centre was always full and 702 decided to buy a building, purchasing 85 Tudhope Road, Berea. The 702 Crisis Centre thrived for many years, assisting the community with counselling and support services. As the centre expanded, Wits Mental Health took over the professional services which continued to be promoted and supported by 702.
The role of the centre evolved over time and to ensure that it continued to be used for its original purpose – to counsel and assist those in need, 702 approached Sisters of Mercy who were then in Rosebank, to offer them use of the facilities to build their capacity to help the community.
In December 2005, 85 Tudhope Road was re-opened as the Mercy Centre, operating a safehouse for abused women. “We have seen the remarkable work that the Sisters of Mercy do at the Mercy Centre and feel confident that they are continuing the legacy of the 702 Crisis Centre,” said Talk Radio 702 Station Manager, Pheladi Gwangwa.
“We are delighted to hand over the property to the Sisters of Mercy to allow them to make the changes to the property that they need to make, to carry out their important work. We look forward to following their progress and will remain committed to supporting them,” she added.