Howdy folks! I hope you've all had a great summer. For us at the Centre is seems to have whizzed by. The Centre itself has been very busy with people coming and going, the coffee bar with it's now extended menu and the shop with all the huge quantities of donations that we have been given. We are on our second "Fill a carrier bag for 50p" sale of the season as we have run out of room to store the donations given. We are always astounded at not only the amount of donations but the quality of some of them. People can be so generous.
We have a good amount of volunteers helping out at the Centre several days a week each.....yeay! I feel that people who volunteer in this way, where ever it is, don't get the recognition they deserve. People put on single fundraisers for a cause because it's dear to them at the time, and this is great, they are wonderful for doing it and it can take a lot to organise. They get so much praise for doing this single event, yet people who tirelessly keep on raising money for a cause hardly get any recognition. So next time you're in a charity shop or somewhere that is run or largely supported by volunteers, just saying something nice in support will make their day. Many of them are volunteering because they want to be out there in the community but for personal reasons they can't commit to employment, or they want to get back into employment but need some confidence boosting first like working with a team or being a part of something again.
For me, Jac chairwoman, I have done a fundraiser each Friday at the Centre with Debz and Jonathan. We have had the BBQ going and I have sung whilst sitting out there on my stool. Most weeks my Dad the legendary Don Woods joined me too, he comes with his old style country music which our service users love. I have sometimes had harmonies in my ear from one of our service users Angello which is always fun....trying to keep from laughing while he comes up with some funny harmonies is always funny.
One of the things I really enjoy when doing our Friday BBQ, is chatting with people passing by and seeing people who I haven't seen for quite a while, who have come specially because they've seen it advertised, seeing lots of smiling faces is always great.
I can't eat the things off the BBQ as I'm gluten free so sitting right next to it while Debz and Jonathan cook away has been torture......I must get some gluten free food sorted for the Centre, then I can join in! Debz and Jonathan have made a great team and cooked food to order so it's all fresh. Sadly it's all over for this year....unless we get another shot at an Indian summer....then just maybe we'll do it all over again....any excuse to sit outside rather than be tucked away in the back room!
The BBQ it'self was donated by the Lowestoft Rotary Club, so we are very appreciative of that from them, it has been used on many occasion and thoroughly enjoyed.
Our support of Talent Match is going well. Sadly we lose Bryn soon though. He has been working in our admin department and has been doing a great job. Once Talent Match stop paying him, he is staying on as a volunteer which we're thrilled about. We are looking for funding to keep him on with us, so fingers crossed we come up with something soon. We have watched him grow and become much more confident since we first met him so I would say that he was a very successful Talent Match placing.
We have a young lady Samantha, who has started her 4 week work experience in our shop area with the hope that she's happy enough to stay for the 6 months on the Talent Match program.
Sadly we had the loss of one of our service users who passed away, he was a huge part of our Unity family. Scott Smith was loved by all and we have so many great memories of him being with us. He was so much fun and will be very missed. We raised some funds and planted a tree for him so that we had some thing for the other service users to remember him by. R.I.P Scott, we miss you. xxx
We also planted a tree for Robin Lunniss who passed away suddenly too, he was on our committee and we still miss him. He was such a happy chap who was so willing to help and join in. I have fond memories of our Bookers run's together, it was always fun....and that's coming from someone who hates shopping!, Thanks for the laughs Robin xxx
So, now the summer is over it's time to start thinking of indoor activities! The karaoke will start again, we also have a few service users who play guitar, so they're going to come in with them so we can have a great sing song together. We are trying to get funding for recording equipment so that we can record people and teach them how to record themselves or others.
We are also wanting to start some youth groups, one for the youngsters with learning disabilities and one for their siblings. These 2 groups will be run by qualified youth workers, so keep a look out for those 2 activities coming up.
We will be starting a membership scheme very soon. We haven't ironed all the details yet but one thing we do know is that people don't have to be a member to be a service users, membership will come with reward points to redeem at the Centre on food, drinks or gaming cards as well as discounts at various local places like restaurants, shops and beauty parlours. You will have to be a member to take part in some of the activities for free like Smartboard gaming. So keep your eyes pealed for what comes next.
A huge thank you to Trevor who did a sponsored swim and raised over £50 for us. He is one of our service users who took it upon himself to do the swim and raise money for us.