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Love and Light

Region 4 - Christmas Party at Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre, Leicester

Saturday 15 December 2012

For the last few years, we have invited a number of elderly guests, and guests with disabilities to a Christmas Party. The party consists of a full 4-course dinner plus entertainment plus games plus presents...plus lots & lots of PURE LOVE.

This year the party was held on Saturday 15 December at Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre, Leicester. Invitations were sent out to just over 60 guests – to Moving On Group learners (adults with learning difficulty), to members of the community who we provide ‘meals on wheels’ at weekends, to elderly residents of homes where we perform monthly Bhajans, and to Pukar Group (ladies with disabilities). And on the day, we provided transport to all our guests – volunteers picked the guests from their home and brought them to the Neighbourhood Centre. We had arranged a special minibus with lift because some of our guests are wheelchair bound.

Preparations for the refreshments started early on Saturday morning - catering for both European & Asian tastes, as our guests were made up of members from the Asian community & from the European community, about half & half. So there was Soup & Bhajias, Vegetable pies & Vegetable Curries, bread rolls & Rotlis, semolina & cake!!! Wonderful selection of mouth-watering food to suit all tastes! And most had bit of everything!!

As the guests started to arrive, they were seated at their tables and lovingly served drinks – both hot and cold drinks were offered. And Christmas Carols were played in the background and a lovely decorated Christmas tree with flashing lights was placed right in front to welcome all our guests!

After all our guests were settled, it was time for some ‘live’ Christmas Carol singing – sung beautifully by SSE Children. All lovingly sung and everyone joined in the singing of the familiar Christmas Carols – Silent Night, Jingle Bells, Away in the Manger, O Holy Night, We wish you a Merry Christmas, and many more! And by the end of this everyone was truly in festive spirits!

The guests were then served with hot, freshly made food. The guests tucked into the hearty food, all lovingly served by the volunteers. It was good to see the smiles on the faces of our guests as they ate their food. The main course was followed by trifle & mince pies, with coffee! A Fabulous Christmas Dinner!

And then it was time to play some games - most wanted to sing. We all joined in the singing – again more Christmas carols sung with gusto!

There was still time for bingo – this is everyone’s favourite game, liked & enjoyed by everyone, and one that majority of our guests could join in. And volunteers were there to help those who needed assistance. Prizes were handed out – ‘BINGO’ shouted loudly by the winners!

Then after more coffee & mince pies, the guests were treated to Christmas Carol singing by all the volunteers! And at the end, the guests wanted all volunteers (30 in total!) to be introduced to them – they wanted to know everyone by name, in a small way to show their appreciation of the loving care showered upon them by all.

The time seemed to have flown by so quickly that it was time to say our goodbyes – it didn’t seem that long ago that we were welcoming our guests. It was also time to thank everyone for coming and making it a special event, full of joy & love. Many of the guests came forward and commented on their experience on the day - ‘you took good care of us’, ‘thank you for all the things you provided today, from bringing us, for the wonderful food, for the entertainment, for the Carol singing by the children, and most of all, for the love & care shown by each one of you’, ‘our grateful thanks to the volunteers’, ‘don’t forget us next year!’

Thank you Swami for such a wonderful day.

Sai Ram.