As with many communities, it has been some time since we have been able to gather together because of the pandemic. At this time of year, we felt that a Winter Cheer social would be welcome. There are many older single residents here who are quite isolated. It is also important that a large community such as this, well over 200 people, should have an opportunity to gather together and share common interests. It creates a sense of social cohesion and facilitates a mood of cooperation among the people residing here. This, in turn, helps us move forward with necessary projects and mutual concerns. Residents are constantly moving on, and new people are also arriving. A social event also welcomes newcomers and cements new friendships.

We set about planning the event by securing a suitable location and asking for a free rental, which we were granted. After some consultation with a few older residents, it was decided to have an afternoon/evening social from 3 to 6 pm. Thus enabling the less mobile to attend.
I then drew up a poster on my computer and printed copies to be pinned up around the complex in early November. After that, we visited a few local suppliers to buy decorations, tablecloths, napkins and so on and also to plan what food we would serve. It is very difficult to estimate the quantity of food needed, especially as some people like to contribute their own. After much comparison and shopping, we felt we had a good selection.

However, in hindsight, we had too much food, and some residents would have preferred plainer things such as sandwiches and less smoked meat. Fortunately, we also made fried rice, dumplings, Shanghai noodles and a brisket dish, which were a great success. We also had vegetarian food such as cheese and veggies as well as quiche. Coffee, tea and some sodas completed the refreshments. For background music, we just tuned into a radio station that plays seasonal songs. On the day, I organized a small welcoming committee that also helped introduce people. I had hoped for around 50 people but probably had 45 coming and going.

It was lovely to see people decked out in festive gear and having such a good time over a communal meal.
Many did not know about the small grant program and were very thankful for the grant, and some told me that this was the only event they would attend this festive season. We are so grateful to be able to off the community this Winter event. It was a great success. Thank you, Richmond Cares Richmond Gives.

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