The Commonside Community Development Trust brings life to Mitcham’s New Horizon Centre throughout the year, with the school holidays being no exception. Having just wrapped up their spectacular Summer Holiday programme as the kids returned to school, Naomi Martin takes us back to a sunny day in August when they headed to Donnelly Green for their annual Pollards Hill Family Fun Day.
This year’s event was a joint celebration with Paul Strank Roofing (a major sponsor of Commonside’s work who are celebrating their 50th year in business,) and was also kindly supported by United Living and Moat.
On the day, we offered stalls to seven local entrepreneurs who sold jewellery, bags, scarves, cards and other products as well as showcasing the work of FDB Training CIC who brought along five people who are starting their own businesses in Reiki, Beauty Services, Interior Design and Decorating, Cleaning and Gardening. Throughout the day, they all engaged with new potential customers and as we wish them further success, we also welcome you to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to hear more about them.
Children were well occupied with a bouncy castle, sweet treats such as candy floss and popcorn, the Delrose Earle double decker bus, children’s photography, face painters, science tasters, Ministry of Giggles children’s entertainer and giant outdoor games. All of which proved very popular alongside the BBQ, and the pop-up Africafe Soul Delight (available at the New Horizon Centre every Saturday afternoon) where business didn’t stop for four days. And if people weren’t already spoilt for choice, we sold cakes that had been freshly baked the day before, along with tea, coffee, soft drinks, and ice lollies from our café.
We were fortunate with the weather and enjoyed some great tunes as well as the chance to talk about our work with Radio Jackie who broadcasted live from the New Horizon Centre from 12 noon to 4pm. Our guest of honour was Danny Boy Hatchard, of EastEnders and Our Girl, who was kind enough to pose for selfies with fans and help Paul Strank to judge the fancy-dress competition. Three sets of lucky children won free entrance vouchers for two at Oxygen FreeJumping Croydon – thank you to Oxygen FreeJumping for kindly donating these!
Fellow charities Age UK Merton, Younger Generation Theatre, Healthwatch Merton were all able to come along and promote their work, and we had a fundraising stall for the Great Ormond Street Children’s Charity run by one of our lunch clubbers. We even ran a few tombolas and had the presence of Off the Record Youth Counselling, Merton Uplift Mental Health services, GSS Training, local Pollards Hill councillors and the Wimbledon Guild, British Heart Foundation, One You Merton, Don’t Medicalise.com and South Thames College. As you can see, it was a true community effort and a summers day to remember.
We were all kept safe by the capable hands of St John Ambulance and we all LOVED the therapeutic effects of Mike’s Donkeys. As one councillor said ‘these events get better every year’ – we are very proud of this and already looking forward to Fun Day 2020!
Written by Naomi Martin
Director of the Commonside Trust