Lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions kept the casino closed for four months during 2020 and for a month in 2021. Curfews have further restricted working hours, so staff used the downtime to make and pack meals for their local communities.

In June this year, when the casino was again forced to close for a month, staff ensured that perishable food in the fridges would not go to waste by delivering it to NGOs. In total, GrandWest donated food to the value of R37 000 to Elim Night Shelter, Tygerberg CANSA Association, Salberau Old Age Home and Little Brink Children’s Home.

The complex also assisted non-profit organisations. GrandWest’s Marketing Manager Nikki Botha said, “Last year, when Ladles of Love needed bigger premises to work from, and so many of GrandWest’s entertainment facilities remained closed due to the pandemic, we offered them a temporary home which gave them time to search for an appropriate permanent base. We are delighted that our facilities were used to bless and enrich so many people.”

After reopening, GrandWest again offered its premises to become the first approved hospitality and leisure industry workplace Covid-19 vaccination site in the Western Cape, administering around 250 Pfizer vaccinations a day to staff and members of the local community.

GrandWest General Manager Mervyn Naidoo said, “2020 and 2021 were challenging years. Many jobs were lost and we all experienced hardships, some of them extreme. Despite this, and in spite of being closed for four months in 2020 and again for a month this year, I am immensely proud that we were still able to assist our communities when they needed us most.

But there have been other memorable CSI moments too.

Over the years, multitudes of orphaned children and those from disadvantaged backgrounds, have been treated to parties at the children’s areas, and 13 years after setting up its bursary fund, GrandWest has funded the studies of 1 427 students with bursary fund grants totalling almost R22-million.

One particularly high-profile event was an Aids Orphans Auction hosted in the Good Hope Suites at GrandWest in 2002. Sought after and highly valuable works of art were donated by 55 of South Africa’s most respected artists, including one collaboration between local artist Beezy Bailey and world-famous British musician David Bowie, who was also an artist too.

The Arena has also hosted memorable fundraising concerts. Many of South Africa’s popular musicians donated their services for the 2011 Love our Children concert, and the Rocking the City concert raised R500 000 for the Baphumelele Children’s Home in Khayelitsha.

Focus areas for CSI spend was health and welfare, community development, education, arts and culture, sport and enterprise development.