Dear Members of the Hellenic Community of Pretoria
Since the appointment of the new Hellenic Community of Pretoria (HCP) council on the 11th of November 2015, we have worked together to try and bring the community closer and to make the community even stronger than it has ever been before. We need to thank the members of the community for voting us in as council and trusting us to push the community forward. The strategy we have implemented is to firstly bring all the other Pretoria Hellenic Committees (The Amateur Hellenic Sports Club, PHYC, Benevolent etc.), together by means of including them on our council so that we allow for transparency amongst all factors of the community. We co-opted Ike Spyron, Theo Papaioannou, Philip Voutsas & Emilio Eftychis on to the council to assist us with delivering the strategy we proposed.
The council is made up of young council members and experienced council members, which allows us to implement new strategies under the guidance of the experienced and thus allowing us as a council to take the community forward by means of making the right decisions when needed. Needless to say the road has not been an easy one, as I, a young first time president have realized very quickly when making decisions and it is imperative that we always seek advice from the people around us especially the members of the community. We need to always remember that a community is made up of many people and it takes all of us to work together to ensure the livelihood of our community and it is not the fourteen people that sit around a table once a month, but all of us together.
There is one very important factor that we all need to realise and that is, we as members must sometimes leave the wrongs of the past in the past and look forward towards the future so that we may allow the growth of our community not for us now, but for our children in the years to come and whatever we do now we set the president and foundation for them to learn from and grow.
At this time, I would also like to inform the members that Nic Efthimiades (Vice President) & Maria Simitopoulos (Council Member), have resigned from the council. Theo Papioannou has been voted in as a full member of the council.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Nic for his years of service that he has given the community and wisdom that he has passed on to all of us over the years. The council has invited Nic to stay on so that he may advise us on certain matters for the remainder of the current council’s term. We will be electing a new Vice President within the next fourteen days and will advise the members accordingly. I would also like to thank Maria for her years of service to Benevolent and Council and wish both members the best of luck.
Moving on I would like to inform the members that for the past year we have been in discussion and submitted an application to the City Council of Tshwane to purchase the parking lot in front of the church. This is a long process and I will keep the members updated if anything new comes about.
On another topic and something that is very close to my heart, this being the proposed renovations to our community halls. I tasked Emilio Eftychis & Spiro Sdralis (Council Members), to design the upgrade to our community halls, which they did free of charge and as a council we presented on the 25th of March Celebrations the proposed upgrading to the community halls. We asked (via social media & in writing) all the members of the community to please pledge donations so that we may get a portion of the funds in so that we may start with phase one. The total cost of the proposed project based on the appointed quantity surveyor’s report was in the region of about R4 Million. The first phase which was the complete renovation of the small hall, entrance, foyer & toilets would cost in the region of R1.5 million, unfortunately we were unable to rally the members of the community to start the pledging process and thus the reason for us not being able to start with phase one in June of 2016 and to have it completed by September 2016.
Many members have questioned me personally why the council does not take the money that we received from the sale of the Zwartkop property, that we as community have to start and to complete phase one, but what members need to realise and understand is that the community survives from the interest that is earned from the funds that we have invested from the sale of our Zwartkop property and from the rentals we receive from the parking lot. The members must realize that if we start eating away on our investments and rentals then the community would not be able to cover its daily running expenses, which is clear in the audited financials.
We as a community must make a call and decide if it is wise to spend the money for phase one and if so will the returns on the investment cover the loss we will make due to us using the funds of the community? This is the question that I would like to propose to the members of the community. In my opinion, looking at it as a purely business orientated decision, by means of bringing on a fully working kitchen, modern looking community hall with all the features of a conference venue, eating establishment and with someone running the venue on a full-time basis whose sole responsibility is to operate, bring in business and who is guided by the council, it does make sense to proceed with the renovations. Many members, parents, etc. have begged for something to be done and this will allow us to offer this to them. If the members feel that it is viable then I urge the members to put this in writing and allow the council to continue, bear in mind that we would need a majority response from the paid-up members to proceed.
I need to thank the organizing committees for the 25 March, Easter Lunch, Golf day & 28 October functions for a job well done for the successful events that have been held over the past twelve months and we look forward to next year events.
Moving forward it is my / our goal as a council to be as transparent as possible with all members and I have asked all heads of the various committees that we formed to operate the community to give me their own feedback on the activities that their specific committees dealt with in the past twelve months, these are as follows:
• FINANCE COMMITTEE:
o Chairman – Philip Calinikos (Treasurer)
o Committee Members – Zack Kakoulla (Vice Treasurer)
Note from the President:
Thank you to Philip Calinikos, Zack Kakoulla, Athanasia & Louiza in the office for their years of commitment, hard work & time given to the community in terms of managing the accounts, investments, sorting out functions, etc. on a day to day basis. We must also welcome our new accountant Micky who has been taking all the old accounts and getting in touch with most of the members to try and settle all the outstanding debt.
• CHURCH COMMITTEE
o Chairman – Nick Kakoulla
o Committee Members – Zack Kakoulla, Eftychios Eftychi
Note from Nick:
The Community Church functioned throughout the past year under the administration of our spiritual pastoral Father Archimandrite Michael Visvinis.
The day to day upkeep and maintenance of our Church has been attended too by the Church Committee.
All the Chanters that helped out the past year George Mazarakis, Maria Sdrali, Koula Georgiades, Maria and Nic Tsinonis, Andrea Papantoniou and the readers.
We need to boost the attendance by the youth, parents with kids should bring them to Church too learn about Orthodoxy. Let the kids attend Sunday school, as it will help them understand better. We need to start looking at maybe staring a youth group, etc. to start bringing in the youth back into the church. People need to understand that the Church is not only about Holy Week, Weddings and Christenings, but it is deeply imbedded in our culture and without the church we lose part of our culture. The Council also needs to be more vigilant in attending church services etc.
We would also like to thank John Vulgarellis commitment for helping in the “Iero” and with the maintenance etc. within the community.
We celebrate the “Annunciation of the Virgin Mary” on the 25 March each year with a Vespers Service the previous evening and a Sunday Service on the first Sunday thereafter.
Note from the President:
I would like to firstly commend the church committee for the endless commitment to our church and to Father Michael for always lending an ear to our members and giving us the spiritual guidance when needed.
I will be discussing an option in the future with the church committee and Father Michael if we could possibly bring on a young deacon who will be able to assist Father Michael with church services and to possibly assist in setting up future bible studies for our members and brining a more modern approach to the education of the Orthodox religion. Mr. George Mazarakis has also asked if it would be possible to create a church choir, but we will need members to show interest in this.
• COMMUNICATION COMMITTEE:
o Chairman – Theo Papaioannou
o Committee Members – Maria Simitopoulos & Creon Eftychis
Note from Theo:
2016 has seen us implement a modern and comprehensive membership management system. The new system will enable us to better manage and communicate with members of our community via SMS and email. The first stage of the new membership system has been completed and we are projecting to complete second and final phase before the New Year.
Note from the President:
Thank you, Theo, for bringing the community into more modern times and we look forward to further updates on the progress of the membership management system. I trust that by implementing this system, this will allow the community to have a more accurate payment system and communication system.
• CURRENT BUILDING COMMITTEE:
o Chairman – Zack Kakoulla
o Committee Members – Emilio Eftychi (Vice Chair)
Note from Zack:
1. Waterproofing on the church dome October 2015 at a cost of R39 000
2. Painted the outside of the church (walls, window frames, pillars and doors) November 2015 at a cost of R65 000
3. Box gutters (caused water leaks when rained) repaired at Kykkos hall August 2015 at a cost of R16 000
4. We have had some general repairs done to gate motors and fixed all the toilets at Kykkos and Main Halls at the community at a cost of R15 000
5. We fixed the flat let next to priest house and we rented out for R4000 per month, cost to repair R25 000
Note from the President:
We as members of the community must realize that if it was not for the work that Zack and his team do around the community, we would not have the community we currently have. To Zack & team a big thank you for all your efforts to always keep up the maintenance in our community.
• FUTURE PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE:
o Chairman – John Nicolakakis
o Committee Members – Philip Calinkos (Vice Chair), Greg Patsalosavis, Advisory Committee (Elia Papavarnava, Chris & Tony Pattichides, Mark Efstratiou, Taki Christodoulou & Elena Karsas)
Note from John:
We have been speaking to the Feenstra group for the last 2 years regarding a sale of the land and or a Joint Venture between the HCP and the Feenstra group. After many meetings and discussions with various well respected and knowledgeable members within the community a decision was taken by council that the option of a JV with the Feenstra group was not a viable one. The last offer we received from the Feenstra group was for R 40 million which we felt still undervalues the property.
We have asked him to revise his offer to us. Once we receive this we will then bring his offer to the community in a SAGM to decide on the best way forward.
Note from the President:
As most members, can imagine this committee has probably one of the hardest tasks in front of them as they need to advise you as members the best course forward for the lively hood of our community and the land we own. As John, has stated once a formal offer or alternative option is presented to the committee they will communicate this via a SGM to all members so that a vote may be taken.
I would also like to remind all members that there have been many calls for us to try and develop the land ourselves but we must bear in mind that no bank will finance a church / community as it is seen as very risky so therefore I would like to call on any members that would be willing to invest in the future of the community to assist us or propose a better option for us. We must all bear in mind that whatever we do with the land it has to be profitable and viable for the future generations.
• BENEVOLENT COMMITTEE:
o Chairlady: Kiki Procopos
o Committee Members – Maria Simitopoulos
Note from Kiki:
This has been a year of many twists and turns and we have tried ever so hard to avoid any unnecessary problems for our beneficiaries.
As always we couldn’t possibly be as successful in meeting our monthly commitments without the assistance and generous donations from our various sponsors. Their monthly generosity is never forgotten and ever so appreciated.
Each month our Tuesday breakfasts held at various restaurants around our city, are attended by our faithful ladies. We would like to extend a warm thank you to all the owners of the various establishments for accommodating us and for their sponsorships.
A special thanks to Stella Kofti Kouvaritakis & Panayiota Tzircalle for hosting our monthly breakfasts. There efforts are greatly appreciated.
The HCP Golf challenge 2016 was a roaring success and thanks to all the golf committee who put it all together and to the golfers who took part in the day, the funds raised for us were beyond what we expected! No words could possibly equate our thanks!
We also had a very successful table hostess competition with the theme “A day at the movies” which was held in the Kykkos Hall. Thanks to our very special sponsors for assisting us with gifts as prizes to our winners & hostesses and additional props to complete our beautiful décor. All the ladies who attended this event had a glorious time.
We would also like to thank the members of our community who kindly give donations at the church collections each month.
Note from the President:
None of us can understand the amount of work that goes into running the Benevolent and what the Benevolent do for our community. We have to say a big thank you to Kiki and her team for all their time and hard work they put into making the Benevolent successful.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Maria Simitopoulos for her hard work and time over the past few years that she has been an integral member of the Benevolent Committee. Maria has unfortunately given in her resignation from the Benevolent and from the HCP Council where she served as the liaison between the two committees. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors and trust that our paths will cross again.
Penny Sdralis will be taking over Maria’s position as liaison between the two committees and wish her the best of luck in her new position.
• SCHOOL COMMITTEE:
o Chairman – Spiros Sdralis
o Committee Members – Aphro Papageorgiou (Vice Chair), Penny Sdralis (Secretary) & School Representatives (Community & Satellite Schools)
Note from Spiro:
Once again we are heading towards the end of the year and reflecting back to the Greek School, we have had our fair amount of challenges and successes.
The financial pressure due to unpaid accounts remains a challenge and we urge the parents to take cognizance of this by paying their accounts timeously.
We have had fewer functions this year than previously and encourage the parents through the committee members to become involved with organizing termly events to bring the children to the community to socialize and at the same time raise funds for the school. Should you wish to assist in this regard or have any suggestions on future events please contact Aphro Papageorgiou or Penny Sdralis.
We thank the mothers of the Greek School Committee for organizing the Agaiasmo at the beginning of the year and the night at the movies which as always are well attended and a fantastic platform for our community to grow especially our children.
We thank the teachers for interacting more with the parents with regards to the children’s progress and hope that the parents find this to be a positive platform for tracking the children’s learning progress. We aim to have more such interactions in the future.
We look forward to the end of the year Christmas function which will be held on Friday the 2nd December 2016. Please remember to bring a gift for your child and to communicate with the teachers for details on preparations for this event.
Note from the President:
I would like to thank the school committee and commend them on their hard work in the past twelve months and look forward to the next twelve months. I enjoyed the interaction with the parents in our meeting held at the end of October and urge the committee, teachers & parents to facilitate such meetings every quarter so that the council stays in touch with what is happening with our children’s education.
I also look forward to the Christmas function to be held on the 2nd of December and to the school committees New Year Celebration, please keep an eye on our website & social media platforms for more information and bear in mind that these events are setup to raise funds for the growth of our schools and children’s educations. So please make a point of attending the various functions.
I would also like to urge parents as Spiro mentioned to be proactive when paying their school fees and to take advantage of the discounts offered in the beginning of the year which is actually a massive saving for most parents. Parents also need to take into account as normal English schools put fees as a priority and only allow children to attend school if their fees are up to date so will we have to investigate this scenario if we cannot get parents to start paying their children’s fees on time. This is not an option we want to look at but we as the council also have to ensure that our expenses are covered in future. The option has always been given that if you as a parent have a problem with payment you are welcome to write a letter to me personally so that we as a council can try and make a plan for you if you are financially unable to make payments etc.
• DANCE COMMITTEE:
o Chairman – Ike Spyron
o Committee Members – Theo Papaioannou (Vice Chair), Dino Kondos (Secretary)
Note from Theo:
We are happy to advise that the traditional Greek folk dancing has been hugely successful for another year. We thank the tutors, students and parents for their continuing commitment in preserving this important cultural tradition.
Note from the President:
We have seen a change and for the better in terms of the creation of the Mary Vasilliou Dance Association (MVDA), which has been setup under the leadership of mainly our Past President Chris Anagnostopoulos and the newly elected First Vice Chairman of the Federation & member of the HCP Johnny Spyridis, and the other members to carry on Mary Vasillious legacy. We wish them the best of luck and look forward to a very good working relationship in future with the HCP.
I would like to congratulate & thank the dancing tutors Helen Spyridis, Annoula Spyridis & Callie Bofilatos on a job well done in terms of teaching our children and cementing what the Greek Culture is all about through dance. I would especially like to thank them for the performances they gave us on the 25th of March Celebrations and the 28th of October OXI Day Celebrations.
Once again I would like to add as I did before that it is imperative that we as parents ensure that our accounts are up to date and take advantage of the discounts afforded to us by the dance committee in the beginning of the year.
• HELLENIC AMATEUR SPORTS CLUB OF PRETORIA COMMITTEE:
o Chairman – Jimmy Eracleous
o Committee Members – Peter Georgiades (Vice Chairman), Alexi Christodoulou (Secretary), Bambos Antoniou (Treasurer), Bambo Papadopoulos (Vice treasurer), Pierre Kania , Andreas Kounas and Demetri Ioannou committee memebers. Anouska Papadopoulos Club Convenor
Note from Jimmy:
2016 was an extremely successful year for the Hellenic Amateur Sports Club of Pretoria. The year kicked off with electing of a new committee. The constitution that governs the club had been ignored for many years, and after the club was been held together by a few enthusiastic individuals, it was finally agreed that the old constitution be dusted off and a proper committee to be put in place. The following result was reached: Nassos Maikos, Takis Angelides and Napoleon Theodorou were made honorary members of the club for the continued support over 35+ year contribution. The current committee is made up of Jimmy Eracleous (Chairman), Peter Georgiades ( vice Chairman), Alexi Christodoulou (Secretary), Bambos Antoniou (Treasurer), Bambo Papadopoulos (Vice treasurer), Pierre Kania , Andreas Kounas and Demetri Ioannou made up the balance of the committee members. Anouska Papadopoulos is the clubs Convenor.
The Football Club is made up of players of Hellenic decent as well as friends of the Hellenic community of Pretoria. Eight teams ranging from the under 9 age group through to Vets who are largely above 35 years of age make up the compliment of Hellenic FC, and we compete in the Tshwane football League. Overall Hellenic FC had a successful year with a few trophies been won in various competitions that have aided in filling our cabinet. Special mention needs to go out to all the voluntary coaching that happens in the junior as well as the involvement of parent who assisted in making the social aspect of the club very enjoyable and creating a safe environment for our children to socialise in. Special mention needs to go out to Anouska Papadopoulos for unselfish contribution to the club.
The Hellenic FC Annual Soccer dance was once again a huge success, whereby we had over 500 guests throughout the evening. A record amount of money was raised and this has been earmarked for developing the facilities at our fields. The Home of Hellenic Football resides in the heart of Hatfield and these premises are being used to host many teams on a weekly basis and we aim to upgrade facilities to enable us to make hosting more comfortable as well as renovating the clubhouse into something our members can be very proud of.
The main obstacle that the club faces at this stage is the renewing the lease at our fields. We are attempting to enter into a long-term lease with Tshwane which will justify any monetary investment we make into the facilities, knowing that we have use of the premises for years to come. We are in continued talks with councillors from Tshwane and hoping that an agreement will be reached in the next short while.
In terms of the HCP Golf Challenge 2016, we had another very successful year and we have to thank all the sponsors, players and everyone involved that made the day such an amazing day. The golf day was setup to raise funds for the HCP Benevolent and over the past three years the Golf Challenge organising team (Jimmy Eracleous, Mitso Kourantas, Bambo Papadopoulos, Dezie Papavarvanas, Maria Simitopoulos, Aki Angelides, Elias Veloudos, Greg Patsalosavis, Daniella Limberopoulos, Philip Voutsas & Maxine Dos Santos), have managed to raise over R1.2 million rand for the HCP Benevolent. This year we managed to raise R410 Thousand Rand in total and we must also say a big thank you to Mario Ferreria from TMM & Mitso Kourantas from Pesca Atlantic for their continuous support as our headline sponsors.
In closing, I am proud of the achievements of the committee and wish them all the best for the next twelve months.
Note from the President:
I must congratulate Jimmy and his team (Soccer & Golf), on a job well done these past twelve months and also look forward to an amazing 2017 season in terms of the soccer and HCP Golf Challenge 2017.
To the amazing sponsors and not just the headline sponsors, but to everyone THANK YOU.
In Conclusion, we as members must remember that together we are stronger and I urge the members of the community to pull together and to unify our proud community.