Peabody in the news

And this year’s revellers were, once again, joined by some special guests…

Our Sundial Community Centre is tucked away on a quiet street in Bethnal Green, a short walk from Colombia Road on one side and Hackney City Farm on the other. The Centre offers a range of activities and services for local people. In particular, it provides care, support and stimulation for older people – those who just want a bit of company as well as those in the early stages of dementia. Between 14 and 32 pensioners visit daily.

The Sundial is a warm and welcoming place – and often a hive of activity. Never more so than during its annual Christmas Party.

Sundial Christmas party     Above: sitting down to dinner: let the celebrations begin

"I've had a lot of fun today"

There was lots to do and see at this year’s party and everybody joined in the fun. Local charity Healthy Generations provided music and entertainment and there was dancing, raffles, and a Christmas dinner too, of course. There were also some special visitors: volunteers from Northern Trust Bank (below) who spent the day there as part of the Bank’s policy to support local communities.

Nothern-trust-members
Left to right: Steve Pereira, Hayley Pereira, Michelle Gadd, Ryan Walker and Lohan Johnson

Steve Pereira (above left), who works for the Bank’s New Business division, was there with his wife Hayley and other colleagues.  They all mingled with the older partygoers, helping them get about, and generally ensuring they had a good time.

"I like seeing the smiles on everyone's faces," Steve said. "It's nice to see people having a good time, especially knowing that some of them are often alone indoors. I’ve also met some fascinating people. I’ve had a lot of fun today."

Hetty and her 'toyboys'

Hetty (below) is one of those fascinating people and her 'toyboys', volunteers Lohan Johnson and Ryan Walker, love listening to her stories.

Hetty-and-toyboys
                                    Hetty’s toyboys Lohan (left) and Ryan

Now aged 86 ("I’m nearly 87. Still got all my own teeth!"), Hetty is a Sundial regular.  "It’s such a boon for me to come here,” she said, "especially now I’m in a wheelchair. I get excellent meals, good care and the staff are really nice too."

Hetty loves to reminisce about her life – and what a story she has to tell. Evacuated not once but twice in the Second World War, she watched Battle of Britain planes soar over Hoxton. Later on, she trained to be a nurse but ended up working with textiles, going to St Martin’s School of Art and what is now the London College of Fashion. Hetty has three children "all in good jobs now".

Behind the scenes

Stephanie Clarke (below) is the Day Care Co-ordinator at the Centre and was key in organising the party. She's passionate about her work, believing Sundial to be an important resource for older people in the local area "not just for the companionship it offers here but for the classes too, like the remedial class for osteoporosis." She's also keen to emphasise the help it gives to people suffering from dementia and their families.

Sundial Christmas party 2
Stephanie Clarke (left), Sundial Day Care Co-ordinator with Northern Trust employees

Importantly, Stephanie and all Sundial staff are really delighted by the support given by Northern Trust and other organisations like the Canary Wharf Group, who supplied goody bags for all the partygoers and Lift & Engineering who helped decorate the Centre.

"It all makes such a difference," she said.

Antonia-sundial-cafe Antonia, the lovely waitress who is also paints at the Sundial Centre

Sundial Christmas Party Photo gallery

(click image below to view gallery)

Sundial photo gallery

If you'd like to know about what's on offer at the Sundial Community Centre please email sundial@peabody.org.uk.