Service users in The Gardening Group grew enormous pumpkins from seed this year for a Pumpkin Competition held on 19th September 2011. The event took place at the Day Opportunities’ Halloween Fair at the church hall; together with a cake stand, bric-a brac stall and tombola.
Planning the competition took place in the spring when pumpkin seeds were sewn in pots by The Gardening Group. These pots were then put in Gateway House’s greenhouse to germinate. Once the seedlings had grown into young plants they were then planted by The Gardening Group in Gateway House garden and also in New Directions’ own allotment, surplus plants were given to staff to grow at home.
The pumpkins needed plenty of watering and regular weeding in the summer by The Gardening Group to make them a good size. At the Halloween Pumpkin Competition the pumpkins were measured by students from Rugby School. The winner of the 1st prize of a football donated by JJB Sports was Team Leader, Debbie and family. Second prize went to service user Keith.
Following the pumpkin competition service users spent time in Day Activities sessions carving the pumpkins into scary Halloween faces. The carved Halloween pumpkins were then displayed at the Halloween Disco at the Gateway Club and each of New Directions homes.
We began by opening our doors and gardens at Richmond Lodge, Vicarage Road, Milner House and Gateway House. The public were invited to share our celebrations with a host of entertainment.
Mickey and Minnie Mouse opened the event at Richmond Lodge where people who use our services, supporters of the charity and the local community came together to join in with the sponsored events and browse the numerous craft and display stalls. Nestled amongst the popular stalls at Richmond Lodge service user Ernie displayed his impressive ceramics for sale.
In the Sensory Garden the New Directions’ Gardening Group demonstrated their skills while taking orders for Christmas decorations. Vicarage Road satisfied visitors appetites with tea and coffee and delicious cakes, just a step away from Milner House’ Tombola. Gateway House provided a place to have cars washed during the visit. Visitors enjoyed the sponsored events including a well attended head shaving and chest waxing which thrilled the audience with squeamish delight.
There were many local businesses supporting the charity by donating raffle prizes, Support Worker Peter Sarson won 1st Prize of a giant hamper in the raffle. Our heartfelt thanks go to Day Activities Co-ordinator Andrea Hann and Support Worker Denise Checkley for all their hard work in organising the success of the event.
All funds raised will go towards accessing new activities and opportunities within the local community. Doreen Woodward, CEO said “What has been achieved over the last 60 years is fantastic, it is a pleasure to celebrate such a major milestone.”
Support Worker Ann Anderson who organised the event said “As we advertised by word of mouth we expected a low key affair but on the day there was a big turnout” All the service users from all houses came and staff, families and supporters of the charity. Support Workers Val Brooks and Kathy Gilbert were overwhelmed with orders for cream teas, strawberries and cream and delicious home baking. There was even a giant cupcake made by Support Worker Hayley Meadwell on sale.
The garden was decked with union jack bunting with seating all the way round although many people mingled. Melanie Baxendale was helped by Service User Barbara to sell items on the bric-a-brac stall. There was a lot of help on the day and it was a huge success. Support Worker Carol Harrison and Service User Brian supplied visitors with refereshments. Support Worker Daphne Codling provided a beautiful stall with plants for sale that had been potted by Service Users in her Gardening Group.
The event was held between 2.30pm and 4.00pm raising £340.33 toward a day out for the residents at Gateway House. This may go toward a night out at the Christmas pantomime and a meal.