A Hi-5 for the children’s Christmas party …

For some reason, wet and windy weather does little to hasten me into the Christmas spirit.

What did help this week, however, was an invitation to Bude’s Hi-5 TalkTime Cafe Christmas party, so many thanks to the group organisers for inviting me along to their uplifting, fun event.

The Hi-5 TalkTime ‘pop up’ cafe & information ‘hub’ support group was started to give some ‘me time’ to parents for a couple of hours every Tuesday. It means parents facing the challenges of raising *additional needs under 5s can meet/chat/cry/laugh over a cuppa and cake, within a safe environment, where volunteers are on hand to help out.

The group welcomes all children in a person’s care but it is a café, not a playgroup, so there are no organised activities. However, there is plenty of play and communication, some of the children benefiting greatly from a volunteer trained to use Makaton, for example.

It is a wonderfully warm place for parents to meet other parents, to enjoy coffee, tea, and cake; a place where parents can share tips and information and where the children can be themselves. It was brilliantly decorated for Christmas, to include a sensory dark area and a visit from Santa. The volunteers have exciting plans for 2019, so watch this space.

New volunteers are always welcome, and at the moment they are very keen to find someone with a little financial acumen to do the bookkeeping, so if this is your kind of skill, then please get in touch via the Facebook page.

It was a delight to meet some of the parents, volunteers and children. I was struck by the laughter, the warmth and the relaxed approach of the group, which was very welcoming. As grandmother, Maria Sturt, said: it’s the kind of place we wished was available when we had pre-school children with additional needs. 

With the help of Carolyn, Maria and the team, this facility is now available and really useful for parents in Bude, who may have additional issues like housing needs to deal with. For many families, external issues also have an impact, so a place to talk, and share is vital.

Funded generously by the Blanchminster Trust, Bude Carnival Committee and their own fundraising efforts, the group hopes to become a charity to enable further development.

*Additional needs mean an extra condition your child is living with: medical developmental, physical behavioural, emotional issues or learning challenges. A diagnosis is not necessary.

Sessions recommence in January. 10.30 – 12.30. Now at The former Oceans Community Centre (now London House) at 35 The Strand, Bude. EX23 8RA. (by the new Premier Inn)

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