Report from Thame Senior Friendship Centre on their official opening

Thame Senior Friendship Centre had its official opening on Tuesday 17 August at Thame Town Cricket Pavilion. We were previously known as Thame & District Day Centre
We were joined by many individuals from the local community including the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, Imam Monawar Hussein who officially opened Thame Senior Friendship Centre.
We also received an award from the High Sheriff for all the work we have continued to do during the Covid-19 pandemic.
We moved into the new Cricket Pavilion in March 2019 having worked closely with the Cricket Club for some considerable time to ensure we were on a more secure footing for a sustainable service for our elderly and vulnerable population not only in Thame but surrounding villages within South Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.  
We were then hit with Covid-19 in March 2020 when we closed. To ensure we continued for the long term it was decided a name change was the right thing to do to bring us into the 21st century, something we did during lockdown.
We have worked continuously to ensure we had all the relevant policies, PPE and equipment required to facilitate re-opening as and when restrictions were lifted. Training was undertaken by all staff and volunteers on the wearing of masks and washing of hands and the importance of social distancing. We were also successful in securing funding from the government coronavirus fund which was a lifeline for our members as we were able to: 

  • Purchase insulated bags for delivering hot food
  • Supply fish and chips once a week to our members from November 2020 until 14 May 2021
  • Provide a Christmas hamper to our members
  • A voucher to our volunteers who would not claim for travel/deliveries
  • A cream tea and Easter egg to members at Easter
  • Activity packs to our members weekly
  • A student from Abingdon provided a weekly fact sheet as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Our involvement in the webinars with Oxford Association of Care Providers, Oxford Community Foundation, Skills for Care, Office for Civil Society, Public Health England and other organisations we were able to open in October/November 2020 for 4 weeks as we were Covid-19 secure. A big thank you for all your help, support and advice.
We re-opened on 18 May with all the relevant policies in place, we have a new manager and we have just taken on a new member of staff via the DWP ‘Kickstart’ scheme. 
Due to the increase in our waiting list during the pandemic and those who are now affected by dementia we are also opening a dementia café on September 13 in the Barns Centre next to the cricket pavilion which will run every Monday from 10.00am to 1.00pm. 
A big thank you to staff, volunteers, Board of Trustees, Cricket Club, Town, District and County Councils and the community of Thame for their continued support without whom we could not continue.

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