BAYNESFIELD ESTATE SCHOOL
After many years of discussions and dreams the Joseph Baynes Estate was finally able to start its own school in January 2019. This is an English medium school and currently caters for grades R to 4 and will expand by one grade every year up until grade 7. The school is an NPO and Schooling is free, providing the scholar lives in the greater Baynesfield community. The principal of the school is Milson Hailstones who was the previous principal of Zakhe Agricultural College. The school has implemented the Highway Program which is an educational program that focusses on developing the reading skills of scholars. The program has been successful, and its success is measurable. The level of education that the school’s scholars are getting is significantly higher than that achieved in similar government schools. This is evident when scholars from other schools invariably have to drop a grade to join Baynesfield Estate School. The school started with 49 scholars in its first year but now has 90 scholars in its second year. Currently there are 5 teachers and 2 teaching assistants. Most of the scholars are black, but there are also 3 white and one Indian scholar. The school also currently provides free education for 10 children from the Salvation Army Joseph Baynes Child & Youth Care Centre. This is because the centre struggles to find schools in Pietermaritzburg who can provide spaces for children in grades R and 1.
The Company conducts a game count every year with the support of the local community.
Antelope numbers have nearly doubled over the past 32 years. All species have been affected by poaching which is relentless. Management is very involved in antipoaching activities, sometimes at considerable personal risk. The oribi is however more prone to poaching and increased deforestation and other habitat changes have affected its population numbers. Another threatened grassland species, the Blue Swallow, is also monitored on the Estate when they migrate into the area to nest. Unfortunately, Blue Swallow numbers are also under pressure and have declined.
Bird Life SA
Bird Life SA assists with the monitoring of the endangered Blue Swallow population at Baynesfield and Southern Natal. Blue Swallow populations unfortunately continue to decline although fledglings were observed on Baynesfield during the past season.
Work Experience Programme
The Company currently participates in a government work integrated learning initiative for graduates that is administered through the Future Farmers organization. Essentially the Company employs and accommodates 10 students for a year and provides them with commercial on-farm work experience.
The programme provides valuable work experience opportunities for students.
Salvation Army Joseph Baynes Child & Youth Care Centre
In the early 1920’s Joseph Baynes handed over the buildings which had housed his woolen factory, to James Hay, High Commissioner of the Salvation Army. His wish was that homes would be developed for a home for men and one for boys.
The Salvation Army Joseph Baynes Children’s Home has since moved to Trelawney Road in Pelham and is supported in many different ways by the Baynesfield Board of Administration. This Centre is situated in Pietermaritzburg, is managed by the Salvation Army and looks after 81 children from infant to matric age. Majority of the children are from a disadvantaged background. The Centre has an historical link with the Estate in that Joseph Baynes donated its first home to the Salvation Army in Pietermaritzburg.
Children from the home are treated to an annual Christmas party on the Estate in collaboration with the Natal Vintage Tractor Club, the Baynesfield Woodworkers and staff and family of Baynesfield Estate.
The Nthembeni and Mtunzini communities are the closest communities to the Estate. Most of the employees of the Company live in these communities and the Company provides transport for its staff to and from these communities. During 2019 municipal water to the Nthembeni community was cut off for unknown reasons. The community had to resort to the collection of water from the local rivers. When Joseph Baynes Estate became aware of the problem, it established strategic fill points for the community. For nearly a month the Company transported water daily to the community. Funds were then spent on piping water from natural springs to these fill points in collaboration with NCT. Joseph Baynes Estate purchased additional tanks and piping to expand this reticulation system further and benefit a larger section of the Nthembeni community. In addition, the Estate assisted NCT in installing a water-reticulation system for the Mtunzini community which also had their access to tanked-in municipal water terminated. Joseph Baynes Estate has, for many years, supported the Nelsrust Combined School, the local fee-free State school. This is a primary School which is situated on the Estate with over 100 scholars from Grade R to Grade 7. The Trust also maintains the School, its grounds and provides potable water.
KZN Youth Show
This organisation runs a youth development programme where youngsters from all backgrounds participate in the preparation and exhibition of cattle, sheep and goats at the Royal Agricultural Show. A KZN team is then selected to participate in a National Youth Show. Due to the Covid–19 crisis the organisation was not able to hold its annual event at the Royal Agricultural Show and the National Youth Show was also cancelled. The Trust is the key sponsor for this programme.
Joseph Baynes Estate encourages and allows agricultural research to be practiced on its properties and has a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the University of KwaZulu-Natal in this regard.
The Estate has made a contribution towards a Masters research programme conducted by UKZN into the economic nutrition of growing pigs. This research will be a direct benefit to the Company and other pig farmers in enhancing their feeding strategies to greater economic effect. This research will be done at the recently completed Baynesfield Swine Research Unit, which is a grower house at the Company’s new grower-house development that is set up specifically to conduct research. The research unit is a collaboration between the Company and Swine Nutrition, a consultancy of pig nutritionist