The Brooklands Centre

FOOD - FUN - FRIENDS - FOR THE OVER 55s

OUR NEWS 2020

Shoebox Christmas hampers

15 December 2020. Usually, at this time of year, the Centre is a hive of activity - full of Christmas cheer, seasonal celebrations and plenty of parties. This year, however, things are very different and the Centre is still closed.


Nevertheless, the volunteers who help at our three day clubs couldn’t let the year end without spreading some Christmas cheer. So, they decided to make hampers for everyone who attends the clubs.

The team collected shoeboxes, covered them in Christmas wrapping paper, did lots of shopping and spent the money that would otherwise have been used for Christmas parties to transform the boxes into hampers - each one full of tasty snacks and delicious sweets, biscuits and drinks.

The volunteers made around 50 hampers, which were also supported by a donation from the town’s Harry Middleton Gift, a local charitable fund that makes grants to organisations in Newport Pagnell.

Earlier today, the team spent the day touring the town in Christmas fancy-dress, making surprise personal visits to all the day club members to deliver their hampers. Getting honks of support from passing motorists and seeing members' delighted faces made it all worthwhile!

Well done to everyone involved. You worked so hard. Many thanks for bringing some festive fun to our day club members and spreading some much-needed seasonal spirit across the town.

Thank you to Sandra

13 December 2020. We recently said thank you to our Day Club Manager, Sandra Dorrill, presenting her with a beautiful bay tree for her dedication to the Centre and its volunteers and members during 2020.

Sandra runs our three day clubs on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which provide a happy, caring and a social setting for around 50 people up to 95 years old, many of whom live alone and would be otherwise isolated and lonely.

During what has been an unprecedented year, and despite the lockdowns, Sandra has shown amazing commitment by being on hand and keeping in regular phone contact with her members. In particular, she made herself available to listen to their concerns and provide reassurance and help where it was needed.

She also spearheaded the reopening of the clubs in between the two lockdowns, with those attending finding the chance to get out and be among friends again absolutely invaluable.

Well done, Sandra; we really appreciate all your help and we hope you enjoy your present. Best wishes for a happy Christmas and we hope to see the day clubs up and running again as soon as possible in a safer 2021.

Volunteer Christmas hamper raffle

8 December 2020. In recognition of all their hard work during what has been a difficult year for the Centre, our Life President, Jim Wiles, and his wife and former Trustee, Sheila, donated a quality Prestige hamper to be raffled off among our fantastic team of volunteers.


Earlier this year, the team won the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service and they've soldiered on with their voluntary work during the lockdowns - keeping in touch with members and supporting them, maintaining the building and mini-buses, and helping to run the Day Clubs when they re-opened for a few weeks.


Jim and Sheila drew the winning ticket and the winner, Joan Rose, was presented with the hamper by Chair of Trustees, Catherine Hall.


At 96, Joan is Brooklands' oldest volunteer and has been volunteering at the Centre for nearly 40 years! Read more about Joan's story here.


Jim and Sheila also donated a beautiful presentation box of Baylis & Harding toiletries. The winner of this lovely prize was Jeanne Liles. Jeanne is also one of our long-standing volunteers. She produces the Brooklands Bugle newsletter, is popular with everyone for her delicious homemade cakes and helps keep the Centre looking its best by looking after the outdoor plants. Well done and thanks to Joan and Jeanne - enjoy!

Jungle Room thanks to Co-op members

30 November 2020. The Centre has benefitted from the Co-op's Local Community Fund and local members' kind donations. Every time a Co-op member bought Co-op branded products and services, 1% of the spend was added to the fund and the money was donated to that member's chosen good cause.

This year, the Co-op gave its fund an extra financial boost by adding money from the sale of its single-use carrier bags, increasing the pay-out to local good causes from £2m to £4.5m.

Many thanks to everyone who chose The Brooklands Centre as their local good cause over the past year; and for the £5,483 they raised for the Centre.

Everyone at the Centre is very grateful and the money has enabled a room to be converted into what’s now called 'The Jungle Room’ – so called because it’s been decorated in a bright and eye-catching jungle theme by members of the Centre’s Art Group.

'The Jungle Room’ is a relaxed area where older residents of the town will be able to meet, enjoy a cup of tea, have a chat or take part in craft activities – once the Centre re-opens, of course!

Recently, Emma Phelan (former Manager of the small Co-op on the town’s High Street), Kevin Gaston (the incoming Manager) and Sai Thavapalan (Manager of the town's large Co-op) visited the Centre to present a cheque to the Chair of Trustees, Catherine Hall, and other volunteers.

Emma and Sai took a trip into the Centre’s very own jungle – all with appropriate social distancing. Both Emma and Sai loved the new room and neither felt the need to shout: "I'm a Co-op Manager, get me out of here!"

Brooklands Annual General Meeting

9 November 2020. The Centre's AGM will take place this Thursday (12th Nov) at 7:30pm. However, like almost everything this year, it will be very different.


The meeting will take place online using Zoom. If you'd like to find out what's been happening at the Centre during what has been an unprecedented year, please contact us on either 01908 614749 or brooklands.centre@btinternet.com and we'll email you a link so that you can attend virtually. 

Tuesday Pop-In reopens

15 October 2020. As part of a gradual reopening of the Centre, the Tuesday Pop-In will start back next week (Tues 20th) BUT there'll be some noticeable changes.

We've introduced lots of measures (in the Centre generally) to prevent the spread of COVID-19 so there'll be reduced capacity. Our Volunteers have had training but please bear with us until we get used to the new circumstances.

Pop-In will start at 10 and finish at 12noon, and we'll only be offering tea/coffee and cake, at least to begin with. However, it's lovely to be opening up again. We look forward to welcoming our faithful members and any newcomers who care to join us.

We've gone solar!

5 July 2020. More exciting news - we've had solar panels fitted! The panels will generate much of our electricity and, when they're producing more than we need, they'll heat our water and any generated over that will be sold to the National Grid.

The panels were fitted while the Centre's been closed due to COVID-19 and in time to get the benefit from the rest of this summer's sunny weather.

They also include a mesh to protect them from birds and other animals (such as squirells) that might try to nest underneath and damage them.

Here's to our greener future!

We've been awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service!

2 June 2020. Everyone at the Centre is delighted to announce that we've been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which is the equivalent to an MBE for voluntary groups.


This prestigious award is the highest of its kind in the UK and recognises exceptional contributions made to local communities by groups of volunteers who devote their time for the benefit of others.


The Centre was nominated for the award by Councillor Paul Day, Mayor of Newport Pagnell, who commented: “I was delighted to nominate The Brooklands Centre for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, especially when my mayoral charity of the year was Dementia UK. The Centre is a wonderful facility and it provides fantastic services for older people in the local area. Its team of 70 volunteers is a testament to Newport Pagnell’s community spirit and is very much part of what makes the town so special.”


Our Chair of Trustees, Catherine Hall, commented: “We are extremely proud and honoured to receive such a prestigious award. It’s a much-deserved reward for our team of 70 wonderful volunteers who give their time freely and whose outstanding work has contributed so much to our Centre.


“We are incredibly grateful and so privileged to have such a dedicated team. We cannot thank them enough for enabling us to achieve so much and making the work of the Centre possible. We simply couldn’t function without them. Thank you to each and every one of them.”


Representatives of the Centre will receive a certificate and a commemorative crystal from Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, later this summer and the Trustees will organise a party to celebrate, once it’s safe to do so. Furthermore, two volunteers from the Centre will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2021, along with other recipients of this year’s award from across the country.


Read the full story here.


 

RAF Sergeant Harry Hogben shares his lockdown story

17 May, 2020. We hope that everyone is keeping safe and well in these very uncertain times.

Keith Hogben has been in touch to say that his dad, Harry, one of our regulars, is doing well but misses the company and friendship that the Centre provides.

As some of you know, Harry is 95 and loves Spitfires, a passion which began in this RAF days.

Harry had an enjoyable VE75 Day and he and Keith have given us permission to share a photo of him and his fascinating life story and, in particular, the times when he was in the RAF.


Videos to keep you mobile and active at home

1 April 2020. We hope everyone is keeping safe and well during these unprecedented times.


We know that many of our members are missing our weekly exercise sessions and it's really important to keep active and mobile while the Centre's closed. So, our exercise tutors Kamal and Andy have produced a series of videos that you can follow at home.


They're FREE to watch and any Brooklands (execise group) member can take part. Have a go - but be careful and stay safe. Please only take part in exercises with which you feel comfortable. It is your responsibility to follow these exercises carefully and safely. The Brooklands Centre and its instructors cannot be held responsible for any accidents or damage of any kind that might occur.


Start today with the introduction and warm-up video and enjoy your home exercising!

The Centre is now completely closed

18 March 2020. In view of the current coronavirus situation, the Centre is now closed to both all our own groups and also all outside groups. It will remain closed until Trustees are advised that it's safe for people to meet again.


We're considering a buddy system where our volunteers will keep in contact with members who need support or, if necessary, visit them - especially those who have limited help locally.


Please be assured that everyone at Brooklands is keen to help and support each other as we look forward to returning to our normal activities.  Stay safe, everyone and best wishes.

Celebrating our Volunteers

13 March 2020. Today was party time at The Brooklands Centre as we celebrated our 70 volunteers who keep our lovely Centre running by donating around 360 volunteer hours per week - cooking meals, preparing and serving refreshments, helping in the kitchen, spending time with our users, organising groups, running activities, driving, undertaking travel escort duties and providing admin support.


Our Volunteers help out at our clubs and groups for our 300 users who attend the Centre around 400 times per week.


Thank you, everyone! See more photos.

Become a volunteer Driver or Escort

29 February 2020. People love to attend our clubs and groups but many need transport.

As one of our mini-bus drivers or escorts (helping people use our transport) you'll make their day by helping them get to and from the Centre.

Just a few hours a week is all we need.

We'd love to hear from you .