The last four months have flown by, and members and staff alike have certainly become used to the new way in which the centre operates. Everyone has coped admirably, and despite the smaller numbers, we have managed to maintain a vibrant atmosphere and enjoy a host of activities in and outside the centre.
With the build up to Christmas, members have been colouring, card and gift making, cooking and of course playing bingo! Hopefully, as the situation improves, we can welcome back more members and increase the range of opportunities.
We would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, in whatever form it takes, and a Happy and Safe New Year from everyone at The Exeter Gateway Centre.
The members have been very active over the past few weeks, with plenty of word-searching, colouring, bingo, painting and generally having fun being amongst friends. Safety measures are being well adhered to, and everyone is now familiar with the routines within the centre.
On the days leading up to Halloween, some members (and staff) came in suitably scary outfits and activities were linked to the theme.
We’ve managed some socially distanced cooking, with Paul and Emma baking some very tasty cheese scones. In the next few weeks, some members will be making and decorating Christmas cakes.
Prior to closure, several members had worked hard on a mosaic sign to put out the front. Gareth had put in a particular amount of time and was pleased to see his labours on display-all we need now is people to notice both the new and existing sign and realise that we are not the Sycamore Centre!
The centre has been reopen for four weeks now and members have settled into the new routine of keeping a safe distance, hand washing and wearing face coverings. Activities are continuing mostly as before, with adjustments where necessary but everyone seems happy to be back in with their friends.
As the weather has been fine, several members have been using the outdoor space to sit, colour, chat and eat their lunch. Suzanne and Gareth have planted the first of this Winter’s vegetables (red and white onion sets), with their crop marked out for some friendly competition! They also planted up some Spring bulbs, so hopefully outside the entrance will be a wash of colour.
Inside, members have been using the computers and pool table (all cleaned down prior to and after use), as well as playing games of the ever popular bingo (using pens and paper cards) during the afternoons.
Everyone has adapted incredibly well to the new measures, and, despite having fewer friends at sessions, members are very much enjoying socialising again.
After nearly six months. the centre finally reopened on the 1st September. All the necessary safety measures had been put in place and the first session members arrived. The numbers had to be cut drastically to allow for social distancing but everyone was happy to see those who had come back.
As usual, there were plenty of activities on offer and members soon got back into the feel of the centre. With the addition of a small marquee in the garden, we were able to get outside and enjoy the good weather, enjoying lunch and a chat (all at a safe distance).
Well, the weeks seem to have flown by and we’re already half way through June. Members have been keeping safe, yet occupied-plenty of making the most of the glorious weather. Lisa has been to Bicton Park; Robbie on several walks along the river; Vincent to the allotment and others out and about. Indoors, jigsaws are still very popular, with Lisa and Robbie completing many over the past weeks.
The weekly Zoom meetings have had upwards of 17 members and staff ‘meeting’ for a chat, quiz and general catch-up. It has been great to see how well everyone has coped admirably under the current conditions and hopefully, when safe to do so, we can look to reopen.
This week, several members (and carers) plus Jonathan and Daryl had a catch up online. For nearly an hour, we caught up on what we’ve been doing to keep occupied and showed friends examples of our handy-work. In particular, Robbie has been making more jig-saws, Rachael has been colouring in St George’s Day Dragons and Lisa baked some ‘melting moments’ biscuits to share with family and friends.
It was not only a chance to see each other but also to introduce ourselves to carers and family members that we hadn’t ‘met’ before. It was a resounding success and has been scheduled in again, hopefully this time with a quiz and a few other activities!
Members and their families have been keeping occupied over the past weeks. As well as honing her football skills in the garden, Rachael has been busy crafting and also making a second batch of Oaty Crunchies (apparently delicious!).
If you fancy giving them a go the recipe is as follows:
1tsp bicarb. of soda
1tbsp tepid water
4oz margarine or butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
4 oz porridge oats
4 oz granulated sugar
4 oz dessicated coconut
Heat the oven to 150C or 300F or Mark 2
Dissolve the soda in the water.
Melt the fat and syrup in a pan and mix all the ingredients together.
Roll the dough into small balls ( makes about 20).
Cook on baking tray for about 15 mins.
Eat and enjoy!
Please do let us know if it’s something you try…
Vincent has been busy at the allotment, helping to plant potatoes, carrots, leeks and broad beans. Indoors, he’s had a pool competition and in the garden played boules (but the dog kept running of with the boules so the competition was called a draw!). As you can see from the photos, Vincent has also been golfing, baking and window cleaning which explains why he had a crafty daytime snooze!
Lisa had fun getting messy, making salt-dough cookies for decoration and then hanging!
Many of the members have been keeping active up to and including the Easter weekend-Emma H is doing daily exercise and dance sessions, as well as other activities to pass the time. Sarah and Emma have been making the most of the sunshine but also being creative indoors. All three members have been enrolled onto Mencap’s Round The Wold Challenge, so Daryl, the centre manager, has been updating their passports to gain them miles towards their first leg of the challenge.
Although the centre is shut, we thought we’d update visitors to the site, showing activities members have been doing to keep occupied. Rachael has been busy on the craft front, making all manner of Easter related items. She has also been keeping her fitness levels up in the garden, playing football and frisbee.
Lisa has also been creating Easter items as well as completing a 1000 piece jigsaw and sitting in the garden pretending she’s at the beach!
Another one of our members, Robbie, is a keen ‘jigsawer’ and has already finished several, along with going out walking and keeping active on the Wii.
Meanwhile, Tracy and Michelle have been walking the dogs and getting to grips with fitness activities in front of the TV. They’ve also been making the most of the sunshine by doing arts and craft on the patio.
Daryl, the centre manager, has been walking his dog in the sunshine (actually the park), before working his way through centre admin. He brought home some small seedlings that are now getting quite big!
Hopefully, there will be more photos and updates as the days progress…
With the centre closed to members, the staff took the brief opportunity before lock-down to start and complete some jobs, both in and outside the building. Jonathan worked hard around the beds and garden to get it ready for some planting later in the year. Meanwhile, Debbie was hard at work cleaning the kitchen area. Daryl had been on leave, but he popped in to bring home work that he can get to grips with over the coming weeks.
Hopefully, we will soon be together again, appreciating the sunshine and eating the produce from the garden and greenhouse, plus doing all the activities that we enjoy at the centre.