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From 3 December until 31march, the club ran "Social Sundays" funded by a grant from Derbyshire County Council (Warm and Welcoming Spaces Scheme)  together with donations made at the club.


Our aim was to offer a social event, with something for everyone, over the winter months.   A team of up to 11 club volunteers provided hot food (two courses) cooked on the premises, organised crafting activities for a range of ages and provided Sunday papers and games for those who wanted a quieter time in the snug.


These sessions proved to be very popular with up to 45 people in attendance; from young families with children of all ages to those very much in their later years.


A Warm Welcome






Guests were warmly welcomed with a hot drink and biscuits by Kath McDevitt with Joan Rutherford  and Eve Waterside helping out. 









Avoiding Food Waste





One of the innovations for the scheme this year was linking in with Whitfield Food Club run by External link opens in new tab or windowPeople of Whitfield.    Each Friday afternoon,  one of our volunteers collected the surplus food from Whitfield Food Club  and sent photographs to the "cooks" who had the following day to come up with interesting recipes with the ingredients. This lead to some creative meals although the full crate of spring onions did present a bit of a challenge.


This scheme not only saved on costs, it fitting in with one of the club's campaign to avoid food waste.  Any food left over was left out for our guests to take home or for users of the club to take away with them when attending subsequent events in the club.  Anything left over was taken  to Haywell Animal Sanctury.






Hot Food



Our main cooks were Margaret Peters and Debbie Windley supported by Martin Purvin, Eve Waterside, Karen Smith, Nancy Irwin and Ollie Missa. All the food was vegetarian with plenty to go round and included pasta dishes, hot pots and soups, often accompanied by freshly made bread rolls, and followed by a pudding or cake.  Tomato and squash pasta bake was a firm favourite as was the lime drizzle cake - and there was never any  olive bread left over.




A special thank you to a number of members and guests that helped with the washing up afterwards and especially the regulars: Derek Clarke, Mike Webb, Hazel Allman, Paull Moran and Ollie Missa.


Craft Activities



Another innovation for this year was to provide  crafting activities suitable for adults and children alike  organised by Kasey Carver with help from Susan Eversfield.  As we were approaching Christmas, the first few sessions, involved making Christmas cards;  firstly by leaf printing using Brusho powdered pigments and then colouring in pre-printed glass window designs using alcohol ink pens on photographic paper.  We even got local artist, Tom Swindell, making one of these.


       
















Sessions progressed to include painting peg dolls, decorating book marks and hearts (for Valentines Day), modelling dry clay modelling, mosiacs, garland making and glass painting.



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One of the messier crafts was pouring acrylic paint (dirty pour) onto plain tiles.  One of the achievements of these

crafting sessions was to get at least 4 generations working together doing dirty pour.


                                                 





   


As the sessions become more and more popular and attracting a wider range of age groups, including toddlers, it was realised that we needed to put on simpler activities so smaller tables were set up for either "painting and spraying" or "scratching or sticking".  While set up for the youngest, it was a bit of a revelation how may adults wanted to scratch or colour in.

                                                                                                             




Other Activities


It was noted that most people who attended the sessions got involved the crafting activities, it was not for everyone - at least not all the time.  Fortunately, the club was able to offer quiet spaces for people to play games or read the papers.  We had Sunday papers and the Chron as well as a good collection of games already in the club.


   


On occasion, participants bought in their own games which were not always that quiet !


                                                                                                         



Christmas and Easter


The Sunday Social for Christmas Eve was somewhat special.  The craft was making "Yule Dough" which was subsequently baked and eaten ; concept and dough provided by Angela Dale.  After lunch we played pass the parcel with an eclectic collection of gifts for all ages.


                                                  








Our last Social Sunday was on Easter Sunday when we organised a Easter Hunt in the garden in which 50 plastic eggs containing treats were hidden. The toddlers were given a head start and the older kids were then allowed out to mop up.   Fortunately, we had good weather.  We then organised a treasure hunt inside the club with the winner being our youngest "adult", Lily Missa.


                                                                                               




All in all .....


While organising these events involved a lot of hard work for all the volunteers, we all thought that they had been very successful. It is clear that there is a need over the winter months for people to socialise; not just for a warm space but as a way of breaking isolation or having a social safe space for those with young children.  The interest from the latter was not anticipated given that probably two thirds of those who attended were families with young children.  As Eve said " "You are all amazing !  You have kept me going and built up my confidence, it's felt a very safe , homely place to be, you are all so welcoming"  Feedback suggested that an important part of the vibe was the social mixing of all the generations.  When Lillian was asked whether she might want to read the papers in the snug where it was quieter, as opposed the garden room,  she replied "I like it here where I can hear the children "   


There are probably a number of reasons why Social Sundays has been such a success from the link with Whitfield to the provision of hot home cooked food and crafting activities.   The refurbishment of the club and the different spaces it offers for a range of usage is also likely to be a factor. However, another important success factor was a little dog called Vivienne who was very popular with kids and adults alike.