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Autumn 2010

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Barrow Voice is published by Barrow upon Soar Community Association. Opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed by the editorial committee or the Community Association.

Barrow Community Association is a registered Charity No: 505692.

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Great fun, great fellowship, great cakes!

Holiday at Home 2010

All you have to be is over 60. You don’t have to be a Baptist, Methodist, RC or C of E or anything at all - all you have to be is over 60. There’s no maximum age limit; a good number are in their 70’s and 80’s with a few hardy types enjoying the week in their 90’s.  All are welcome.  Although Barrow Baptists run the Holiday at Home Week   the organisers emphasise that anyone can come and this all inclusive nature of the scheme is really appreciated by the people who attend. “It couldn’t have happened  twenty years ago” I was told  “but people have realised that getting on together is what matters not which church you go to. We all mix together - the fellowship is marvellous.”

So if you went along on the first day of this summer’s Holiday at Home, what did you find? Well, you’ll have met lots of  other people as the scheme attracted about 80 people mostly from Barrow but several  from Sileby and Loughborough.  If you’re a Barrow person you’d probably have recognised quite a few people already but even Barrow born and bred stumble across long term Barrow residents they’ve never met before. How delightful and what a surprise!

Getting people to mingle and extend your circle of friends is all part of the experience. A lady who’s attended in past years said, “The organisers mix us up as we have to go to different rooms for different activities and we change tables at lunch time too so we sit next to different people.  We chat and laugh a lot.  It’s all very friendly - enjoyable from start to finish. I’m over the moon during Holiday at Home week.”  Monday’s lunch, the first of the week, was followed by a talk explaining the activities on offer and members signed up for the ones they wished to do. To cover the costs of lunches, teas and talks small donations are requested but never insisted upon. In fact it’s Barrow’s senior holiday-makers that insist on paying their way; they don’t want charity.

This scheme for seniors has been going since 2004 having developed from the church’s monthly luncheon club. Now the experienced organisers make sure the week not only gets off to a cracking start but continues to provide four stimulating afternoon activities either following on from a lunch or on either side of an afternoon tea and linked by a common theme. This summer’s theme was Water for Life. As an experienced Holiday at Homer said  “ You do things you never thought you would. It gets you out of the house and you use your imagination instead of just watching television. It‘s the craft work I love. It keeps your brain going even though your body’s gone!” 

There’s always a craft afternoon spent making or doing something following a talk or demonstration on the subject. Past years have seen members painting on glass, making miniature gardens, making lavender bags, painting watercolours, getting the best out of their digital cameras and making bird boxes. The bird boxes caused a lot of fun as putting them together was a bit tricky and before changes were made some birds were expected to fly upwards through a hole in the bottom!  If you’re in a wheelchair helpers always make sure you are pushed to the room you need to be in for your chosen activity which you carry out on a tray on your lap. This year’s craft was Canal Boat Art following a talk about life on a working canal boat and crafty activities during Friday’s Day at the Seaside.

Most of the activities take place in the social room behind the Baptist Church in Beveridge Street but there’s always one full day’s outing. This trip is very much looked forward to especially by people who can’t get about easily because they are using wheelchairs. Holiday at Home has many hands to help them get into private cars or onto a special coach with a lift.  In past years these outings have included a sail on the river at Stratford, a visit to Rutland Water and a steam train to Peterborough. However, one that seems to have been particularly memorable was an outing to the Yorkshire Dales to see the beautiful ‘ Last of the Summer Wine’ countryside and ended appropriately with tea and cakes in ‘Compo’s Cafe’ in Holmfirth.  Leamington Spa was this year’s destination.

There are light-hearted quizzes and games scattered through the week; rumour has it that this year tails were pinned to donkeys after a fish and chip lunch when the seaside came to Beveridge Sreet! Certainly there were ice cream cornets, hook-a-duck, skittles and a chance to paddle!  Videos of past ‘ Holidays at Home’ are usually shown on Saturday afternoons as a background activity to an informal gathering with tea and - yes - more home made cakes. Music ended this July’s programme with the Loughborough Concert Band playing in Holy Trinity Church on Sunday August 1st. This was followed by a short service of Praise where, as usual, favourite well known hymns were sung with great gusto.  For the ‘Holiday at Home’ folk Sunday is not their day of rest, it’s Thursday. Nothing happens on Thursdays as holiday makers may like a rest after the Wednesday outing and get themselves organised for the final three days.  

An unusual extra for this summer’s Holiday was the presence of an Aquabox (get the water theme?). It’s a collection of useful items that a family might need for their survival after a catastrophe such as the house wrecked by hurricane or flooding or tornado or earthquake, etc. The “Homers” were invited to contribute small items to build  up a complete aquabox which will be distributed to a needy family somewhere in the world by the organising charity.

 So, if you are in your 60’s 70’s 80’s or 90’s , like the sound of what you’ve read and think you would enjoy Holiday at Home 2011 call Judith Morrison on 412770  or send her an e-mail  sunup26@tiscali.co.uk . She’d love to hear from you.

I would particularly like to thank Beryl Harriman,  Denis Hudson, Josie and Fred Faulkner and Tom Mitchell for help in the writing of this article. 

Gaynor Barton