Abba breaks and beer tasting at revived Worstead day-care centre

PUBLISHED: 11:36 06 July 2013

Worstead Day Care Centre. Manager Janet Spink with centre user Peggy Hall, 82.

Worstead Day Care Centre. Manager Janet Spink with centre user Peggy Hall, 82. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2013

A smart new, edged, landscaped and shingle-topped car park might be expected to cost a pretty penny.

Worstead Day Care Centre's new £32 car park. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYWorstead Day Care Centre's new £32 car park. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

But the Worstead Day Care Centre and Meeting Hill Members’ Club has only had to find £32 for its new facility.

Local businesses and well-wishers chipped in with free materials, labour and a donation to keep costs to an absolute minimum for the charity, near North Walsham.

The generous gesture is typical of the goodwill and support for the centre which, back in 2009, was struggling for survival and “in the red,” according to manager Janet Spink, a former nurse, who took over four years ago.

She, centre co-ordinator Susie Lee and the rest of the staff and volunteers have turned its fortunes around with a new “club” image and by ditching pre-conceptions about the elderly.

Each of the centre’s 30-per-day clients is asked to draw up a wish-list and staff try their best to make dreams come true.

When Mary Mason, 64, said she wanted to visit a brother she last saw 30 years earlier, staff organised a trip for her to his 70th birthday party in Kent.

“It was wonderful and exciting. I got to dance, in my wheelchair, with my two brothers either side of me,” said Ms Mason, from Happisburgh.

Beer tasting, cookery sessions, and an outing to an Abba weekend at a holiday park have also been organised among the more usual reminiscence, music, exercise and arts and crafts sessions.

“Some of them wore Abba costumes,” said Mrs Spink. “People may be old in years but they feel young inside. They don’t put on twin sets and pearls the minute they reach 50. And they don’t all want to listen to wartime music. A lot of them were young in the 1960s and that’s the music they like.”

The centre now welcomes anyone aged over 18 who needs a break from isolation and social stimulation, or to support families who are caring for them.

And it has increased its opening hours from two to four days a week plus most bank holidays, with plans to open on Saturdays by the end of the year.

“People come on a Monday and say: ‘I haven’t spoken to a soul since Friday’.

“A lot of them get very lonely at weekends because their families are busy,” said Mrs Spink, who is full of other future plans to expand the service.

The centre hopes to gain planning permission for a cabin in its grounds, allowing more space for activities and enabling it to increase the number of clients it can accommodate.

And plans are also afoot to start a new social group elsewhere in the area, for young people with disabilities.

■ The centre is hosting a summer fete in aid of its funds on Saturday July 20 from noon to 4pm.

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