On Thursday 10 June I went to the Eyres Monsell Club for Young People to help them celebrate their 60th Anniversary. I'd not been before, so I wondered if I would recognise it when I got there. I needn't have bothered the entrance was festooned with dozens of balloons, banners and flags were flying and the crowds were spilling out of the yard on to the pavement.
As I hove into sight, Cllr Elaine Pantling gave me a cheery wave and waved me in. "Thanks for coming," she said and then introduced me to her colleague Cllr Karen Pickering. I complemented them on the bustling scene. "Oh that's not us," said Elaine, "you need to meet Louise." She looked around then waved over a lady in a distinctive T-shirt emblazoned with the EMCYP logo.
She turned out to be Louise Wylie, the Centre Manager. She immediately impressed me by pressing a cup cake into my hand. It was delicious, a home made sponge topped with vanilla icing and a chocolate button. While I happily munched away, Louise told me that the Club had recently won the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. Impressive stuff.
"The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities," Louise told me. "It was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. It is truly an honour to have received such a prestigious award to recognise our work throughout the pandemic. Every day we are amazed at the sheer commitment and enthusiasm of our volunteers, this award is dedicated to each and every one of them!"
Then it was off to mount the static cycle which was being used to cycle an impressive 60 miles to celebrate the 60 years of community service here. And to raise some much needed cash to fund new projects. I hopped on and began peddling while talking to camera about this wonderful club and the great work that it does. Now, obviously, I would have been more than happy to cycle the entire 60 miles myself - but just then a member of staff arrived with a cup of tea and another cup cake. What could I do?
I then met PC Natalie Bogle and PCSO Nikki Salmon who had turned up to show their support. The pair were enthusiastic about the Club and what it does for youngsters on the Monsell estate. I almost tempted PC Bogle into a game of pool, but sadly duty called her away. Having had a tour of the gym, sports hall and other facilities, I realised that it was sadly well past time for me to leave. I said a final goodbye to the team and hopped into my car.
A fascinating visit, to a fantastic club. If you have a moment you might care to pop down there to enjoy the fare on offer at the café - open weekdays 9 to 2. I'll certainly be back. The cakes really were that good.
If you would like to contribute to the club’s excellent work, see below:
Spacehive- #MakeMonsellMove21 - https://www.spacehive.com/makemonsellmove2021
Charity Paypal- EMCYP - paypal.me/EMCYP
Posted on Monday 14th June 2021