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COMING TOGETHER | Community spirited approach to fun day

The community sprit of our services in the Forest of Dean is never more evident than when they all come together.

Hosted by our Merry Den supported living service in Cinderford, the annual summer fun day is shared with our nearby Chosen Care supported living services and Yew Tree House residential service.

What is becoming the summer event highlight, the fun day brings all our colleagues, the people we support, their families and friends together and highlights the value of community integration and involvement.

The people we support at Merry Den are very much at the centre of organising the event and themes are discussed at their monthly meetings. For 2023, it was a tie between picnic and sports day, so it was decided they’d do both - with the ever-popular sports themed fancy dress being optional.

Twins Craig and Adrian, and friends Ollie and Jando were very much part of the event planning, in particular the food. They especially wanted to wear their best sports attire.

Ollie & Jando wore matching headbands

Craig & Adrian helped make arrangements

When the owners of the local catering company were approached about it, they were so keen to be involved that they offered to do it for free; they simply wanted the opportunity to attend. Having previously ran the local pub, they had missed seeing everyone at the regular coffee mornings and get togethers that they’d occasionally hosted there.

Treats and prizes were high on the event agenda. Considering the preferences of the people we support, two local artisan businesses were invited to attend the event: local cake and craft makers. The Merry Den team also reached out to other local businesses who were happy to support the event with their generous donations of raffle prizes. They were gifted in abundance.

Guests were invited to make purchases, particularly the people we support who were given the opportunity to bring along a small amount of their own money to spend. They were able to browse the sweet treats and craft items available or have a go at the various raffles.

Jando won a prize for guessing how many sweets were in the jar

One of the highlights of the day was race time. The people we support, our colleagues and families all gathered to compete in all kinds of races, from sack and egg and spoon races, to tug of war. It was a real team effort, and everyone was awarded for their participation, with champions being awarded a special certificate.

Ready, set, go!

Our champions were presented with their certificate by the vicar of the local parish, St Stephens. The local church plays a big part in the lives of many of the people we support at Merry Den, so it was important the vicar was invited to the fun day. He was joined by his wife, along with other people from the parish.

The catering organisers were presented with flowers and Prosecco as a gesture of gratitude for their support. In response, the owner asked to share a few words with everyone. He said “You’re all just the most beautiful people we’ve ever met. We like to enjoy what you’re doing, and we want to be a part of it.”

Stephanie thanking the catering company for their support

The annual fun day event was a day filled with high spirits and friendship and could not have happened without the tremendous efforts of our hard-working and devoted colleagues. A grand total of £311 was raised too, which will help fund the next event!

Registered Manager, Stephanie White was determined to better integrate Merry Den with the community when she arrived there. This event, and Stephanie’s ongoing commitments, are shining examples of its importance - for the wellbeing and progression of the people we support, and for our neighbours.

Read more here about Merry Den's engagement with the local women's football club.

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