Our PiPs Community Outreach report for 2021
The Community Room
The community space has been used by many groups and businesses since opening in 2021. It has been used by the NHS to hold a patient-forums for the profoundly deaf and epileptics, as a talking café for a local GP surgery for people with chronic illness and by Age UK to hold regular brain training sessions as well as for meetings and other training. The room has provided a venue for many local children, for birthday parties and celebrations, as well as football and park run presentations and even a toy swap. We have weekly bookings from the You Trust, who support people in financial difficulty and with housing issues, providing a drop in point from the community room. First Aid courses are delivered from here by both Dorset Council and a local provider, Quadrant Safety. We have become a meeting space for several groups including the retired magistrates, business and social breakfast and coffee clubs and we provided an exhibition space for an art exhibition by Casterbridge Art Society.
Our Community Projects
We have delivered an array of community events, clubs and projects in 2021, and have been delighted with the response from the community.
Music at the Pavilion Jun/Jul/Aug – We offered a 1 hour lunchtime with a difference. Local musicians and singers perform and we invite anyone to come and enjoy a picnic on the Great Field and be entertained. All the musicians perform for free. An average of 120 people of all ages have attended, bringing picnic chairs and mats and enjoyed sharing lunch with friends and family. We intend to continue these lovely concerts throughout the Summer months.
Summer Kids Club August – Throughout the Summer holidays we hosted 2 sessions a week for children most in need aged 5 – 10 yrs who qualified for a summer in Dorset passcode. Working in partnership with Dorset Town Council, the four hour sessions at PiPs were led by a primary school teacher and family worker. We provided a hot meal and fun activities and games each day, including Bounce around activities and a visit to Dorset museum.
We offered 20 places that were fully booked with a waiting list for most sessions which was used to ensure we got as many children as possible on each day. Across all the sessions, 45 different children benefited.
Holiday Hangouts August – Again in partnership with Dorchester Town Council, we provided outdoor activities for children age 9 – 14 to enjoy diversionary activities and entertainment in a safe, sociable and organised environment. We provided bungee runs, sumo suits, and light up challenge both days, as well as festival style arts and crafts, table football, and giant games. On both days we had the wildlife exhibit where the children could hold and interact with creepy crawlies, snakes and lizards while learning about the species and the habitat. African Drumming, Street Dance and organised football and rounders were also on offer, lunch was provided free to the Summer in Dorset passcode holders. The activities were supplied by professional companies and supported by a team of volunteers.
Senior Social October – After a successful funding application from the Virgin Neighbourly fund we started our monthly senior social coffee mornings for over 65s here at PiPs, run by our wonderful volunteers Fiona and June. The sessions have been well attended, and it has been a joy to listen to the noise and laughter coming from the community room. We offer, free tea, coffee and cake for 2 hours as well as warm and friendly welcome. Fiona is wonderful at getting them all talking and introducing people. We have had 14 people attending on average at each session in 2021.
Halloween Trail November – We set up a Halloween pumpkin trail around the great field, and created a map for the children to follow. Each pumpkin had a letter carved into it, which made up a secret passcode. The passcode got them a treat back at the café. In the community room the children could enjoy lots of arts and crafts. The café provided Halloween specials for food and hot drinks. It was a particularly cold and very windy day so we prepared for up to 50 children to take part, but this overwhelming success saw more than 150 children take part in the trail. This evening was supported by Tesco Dorchester and Boos Toy store, who provided the pumpkins and sweet treats.
After School Art Club November – Funded by the Art Society Dorset County, we provide free fun art sessions for 5 to 10 year-olds as well as Stay and Play sessions for parents to engage with children and share in a common activity, promoting communication and time spent together having fun with art-based activities. These are monthly ongoing sessions in 2022. At our first session each child designed and decorated pots using pens and pencil and then transferred a design on to clay pots using acrylic paint pens. Each pot was filled with compost and an indoor plant added, to take home and care for. The 10 places were filled in one day, with a waiting list for the next session in January.
Christmas Music at the Pavilion December – Following the success of the summer events we planned a Christmas version with carols and fun Christmas songs. Led by 2 singers Franz & Sophie, we offered mince pies and spiced apple juice outside the café. We
stopped trying to count the number of people as it was impossible, but estimate at least 250 people wrapped up warm to join in some covid safe outdoor Christmas fun. There was a wonderful atmosphere and real sense of community. This is an event to be repeated next year.
Winter Kids Club December – All the children that attended were part of the Winter in Dorset Scheme, ensuring that we reached the most in need families. The 4 hour session was run by Sandra & Lesley and supported by 2 volunteers. The children did lots of festive art and craft, including finger painting, decorating bags, sewing xmas stockings, making baubles and decorating biscuits. They did a winter walk around the great field and played games outside as the weather allowed. Included in the session was a delicious hot meal for the twenty children attending. In addition to the session, we secured additional funding for a take home activity for each child, which included a biscuit baking activity (all ingredients and recipe supplied) a skipping rope & card game, presents for each child in the family from the Lions Club, beautiful hand made quilts for the children, supplied by Project Linus, and a £10 gift card from Co-Op.
Pavilion in the Park (PiP) and its community room are truly at the heart of the Poundbury community. In addition to the sample of events held detailed above, the building hosts a supper club, a second hand book swap and champions art by under 25s and local residents. Thanks to the loos and facilities that PiP provides, the Great Field is able to offer a weekly Park run, fun days, sports and exercise classes. We look forward to our full agenda for 2022.