Back in December last year, I had the good fortune to start working as the Centre Manager for Winton House. I would like to share something of what I’ve experienced to date in this hidden jewel that sits just a short walk from Petersfield Square.
I’ve been overwhelmed by the commitment, good will and hearts of the volunteers, staff and trustees giving their time to improve the lives and opportunities of those living in our community. I
observe the determination with which our volunteers work to find information, services and provide office support to a steady stream of people; engaging them in conversation and always with a smile on their faces. In addition, they staff the phone that supports many to access the PVCG ( a service that provides transport for those needing to access hospital services) as well as answering general enquiries.
Next door in our Pop- in Café, the first customer, often a regular visitor, comes in for a favourite breakfast treat, a hot mug of tea or coffee and a natter with our friendly volunteer café staff. This is a café that is affordable to all, where people on different tables often speak and smile at each other and where all members of the community are welcome.
And then there are the activities that WHC offers to the community – the Memory Café, the monthly Bingo, and the outings for the over 65s that take place in the warmer months.
And did you know there are activities that take place here in our rooms that include: Art for Resilience, IT support classes, Mindfulness, philosophy, recovery groups, and ramblers. And just this
Saturday, the Centre hosted the first Menopause Café in Hampshire. These are but a few of the activities on offer- in short you’d be hard pushed not to find something that appealed to you!
We also accommodate Age Concern Petersfield and Homestart Butser, illustrating the range of ages that benefit from Winton House.
WHC is a microcosm of the ebb and flow of community life. It is one of the most positive experiences of community life you can find. It is the wonderful chaos of writing this whilst speaking to a new volunteer recruit for the Pop in Café, whilst being surrounded by the M&S food/gift drop (beyond shelf life) that is later that day allocated to food banks, local after school groups, and our in-house charities amongst others.
2018 is an exciting year for us all here and we hope that you join us in experiencing this special place. We will be looking to our Annual Meeting this February where we will be showcasing our Centre activities and sharing our way forward to reach out further to those who need the services and opportunities we provide. We are delighted that the learning disability and autism charity Fitzroy will also be joining us at our AM.
And this Spring, we are working with artist Vicky Ostersen, whose work with the 360 children from The Petersfield Infant School will be displayed in the Pop in Café and in our beautiful garden.
And following on from the beautiful Peace Posters that adorned our Café walls, courtesy of a joint initiative by TPS and charity fundraiser Lions, we will be looking to follow this up with other
initiatives that can support the younger members of our community.
Watch this space!