This year the Funday may have looked very different, but the purpose remained very much the same – to create an atmosphere of love, joy, of celebrating the community and its people… and that’s what we managed to do!

 

As the sun shone bright on Saturday 11th of July, residents of South Reading took to their gardens and lounges for an afternoon of fun, cake,  games and chilling to the vibes of RG2 Radio. Richard Walker and MC Napthali, both Whitley residents, compered us through the Funday with their banter and laughter. The Reading – Whitley quiz was a hit, causing all sorts of good humoured controversy over local primary school names and how many pubs had closed down in our community! But a highlight for many was the annual Whitley Heroes ceremony presided over by Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Dr. Peter Durrant who honoured our two heroes chosen by the community – Carol Woolford and Paul Littleboy. The Deputy Lord Lieutenant was delighted to connect with folks after the ceremony and even joined in the Zumba with us outside St Agnes Church!

It truly was a community event

we were delighted that the new format enabled many who wouldn’t ordinarily have been able to participate in the Funday in previous years to do so this year.

One such highlight were the residents of a local care home ‘Life Care’ who decorated their lounges with Funday bunting, enjoyed cake and grooved to the music playing on the radio. A couple of staff shared: “[Lockdown meant] residents were stuck in bedrooms for two months and socially distancing, this is the first time they’ve been able to have fun. They are happy and elated and it’s going to do so much for their cognition, and they’re going to talk about this for weeks.” “Long time waiting, and we really all needed it here, it’s lovely.” 

Deputy Mayor of Reading, Rachel Eden was a great sport joining us for most of the event; officially opening our time and later joining our MCs in friendly chatter over the answers to the quiz. She later commented “I thought it was wonderful the way you all put it together.  Please pass on my thanks to everyone else.”  Claire Bankole from SYC said, “In the midst of all the excitement, the Funday was the first ‘airing’ of a new Whitley Logo designed by young Finn, a local Year 6 student and winner of the logo competition that took place earlier this year. Hopefully you will notice it around the community in various places!” Our fabulous team of field reporters led by Reneta and made up of Des and her T4Me Fitness crew both brought and captured the life of the Funday through Facebook LIVE videos on the South Reading Churches Funday page, featuring different streets and households in the community.  Residents were also able to record sound bytes and greetings to be aired on the radio. It was wonderful to see so many people getting involved. Zumba led by Des and her team has become a feature of the Funday over the years, and this year was no different, only we could all take part from our gardens as Des called us out over the radio – great fun!

“Long time waiting, and we really all needed it here, it’s lovely.” 

Overall, 135 people signed up to participate and volunteer for the Funday, 258 devices tuned into the radio (from far and wide!). Over 100 packs with resource sheets, bunting and homemade cakes made by community residents were distributed to all participating street hosts and households, as well as all the staff and residents at Life Care. We are excited to see how this model can be used at fundays and community events in the future!

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For more information on how you can be part of whats happening please get in touch