The Wychwood Day Centre is a lively weekly social club for our elderly neighbours. It was started in 1998 by a group of caring residents of the Wychwoods, some of whom still live in the village. It is the only Day Care facility of its type in the community. Every Thursday volunteers organise activities, food and hot drinks for a cheery group of folks at the village hall in Shipton.
In normal times we are able to offer places for up to 22 members from Shipton, Milton, Ascott and the surrounding villages. Most of the work involved in running the weekly event is handled by volunteers but we also have a part-time paid Coordinator, Helen Pratley, who joined us in June 2020.
We usually meet once a week on a Thursday in the New Beaconsfield Hall. For many of our members, it is the only opportunity to leave their homes for a day and enjoy the company of other people. Apart from refreshments and a scrumptious lunch, we have a variety of activities geared to our members’ interests and hobbies. Recently, we have enjoyed visits from owls, miniature horses and medical detection dogs, as well as exercises, poetry, singing and quizzes.
Among the favourites are visits from the Museum Service who run Reminiscence Groups. A trained facilitator brings boxes of themed items to our group and helps get the conversation flowing. Museum artefacts, documents, photographs and a range of well-loved objects help to stimulate conversation and encourage shared memories.
As in so many walks of life, Covid had a major impact on the Day Centre forcing us to close our doors for several months. During that time Helen Pratley visited our more isolated members and helped them deal with the unprecedented challenges of a rural community in lockdown. Since last summer, we carefully ramped our numbers back up until in early December we held our annual Christmas lunch for almost all our members. However, there are spaces available for new members in this vibrant group; contact Helen at email@example.com
The Day Centre costs in the region of £20,000 per year to run. Now that we no longer receive a grant from Oxfordshire County Council, we are very grateful for the donations made to us from villagers all around the Wychwoods, which along with the Parish Councils and other local organizations have enabled us to continue and even build the financial reserves so welcome and necessary during the extended closure due to Covid.
If you are interested in becoming involved with the Day Centre, or would like more information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
February – March 2022