Garden party in Cheslyn Gardens

It’s 9am on Sunday 23 June and I have just arrived back in the UK, seriously jet lagged! Would I be up to spending the afternoon at the annual garden party? Was there a danger I would fall asleep? I needn’t have worried. It was a great afternoon and so uplifting to be there.  

What is it, I wonder, that makes these occasions so special? Simple games are provided for the children and beautifully prepared tea and cakes are laid on for all within the lovely setting of Cheslyn Gardens. But it’s the coming together of volunteers, clients and their families that make it so special. Individuals and families meet to chat, share stories and support each other. Those who live alone or who face very real difficulties every day find encouragement knowing that there are others who empathise, who will listen and help where they can. And renewed contact is made with volunteers, with clients updating them on what is happening in their lives and arranging further discussions. 

For me, the garden party, like many other activities organised by the partnership, is so special because of the eclectic mix of those who come: volunteers and clients from different nationalities, religions and backgrounds. Is it too grand to say that this is a picture of how the world can be where difference enriches rather than divides?

So many people to say thank you to. To Mel and Amira who did the organising and all our volunteers who helped with transport and setting up on the day. To Councillors Asif Khan, Nigel Bell and Mark Watkin for coming and pledging money in support the Partnership’s work. We realise there are many demands on budgets and are hugely grateful for the support. To the folks at Cheslyn Gardens for allowing us to meet there and caring for such a lovely place. And to our clients with whom it is always a pleasure to meet, develop friendships and work together. 

So was it worth making the effort? Absolutely and I’m looking forward to next year already! 

Paul Tucker, Drop-in centre Coordinator

Pictured – Herts County Councillors (L) Nigel Bell, (C) Asif Khan, (R) Mark Watkin, together with some of our supporters and clients, and chair Tim Whittaker