Festive season Dec 2017 Welcome to the first post on the St Luke’s blog! We want to give readers some insight into daily life here at our Community Centre, and how things work behind the scenes. So it's down to me, the Communications Manager here at St Luke's, to kick off the blog and set the scene. As those who have visited the Centre know it’s a thriving hub, with something going on every day of the week. We have the Café and Cookery School, both buzzing with activity most of the time! Throughout the week we serve subsidised freshly-prepared lunches from scratch for over 55s in the EC1 area, made by our wonderful kitchen team. This is done through income from our Café. There are also activities and services going on throughout the week for the benefit of the local community, from employment support to kids clubs. On Sundays we throw our doors open to all, and you can come along and enjoy a freshly cooked Sunday roast and social activities around the Centre. On Saturdays there’s usually a kids' party or a function going on. So we’re the Community Centre that never rests! The run up to Christmas is always my favourite time at St Luke’s, because we’re planning our Christmas events. The decorations go up and the Christmas music comes on around the Centre and there's a warming festive atmosphere even when it's cold outside - it’s a special place to be in December! On Saturday we had our Christmas Fayre at the Centre. It's a busy day, with hundreds of people enjoying live music, great food, cookery, crafting, face painting and much more. There's no better way to start getting into the Christmas spirit than a community Fayre, and everyone at St Luke's pitches in to make sure the day goes smoothly. We even got a photograph below of Islington's Mayor Una O'Halloran meeting Father Christmas in our grotto! On Tuesday 19th December we have our Christmas meal for members, which is always a lively day. It's a great chance to get members together in the Centre for some good food and drink, and lots of festive singing and dancing. All our members get a gift on that day, which is kindly donated by supporters through our Christmas Giving campaign. On Christmas Day we're busy once again with our annual meal and entertainment for those who might otherwise be alone at this time of year. This is open to everyone, not just members, but needs to be booked in advance. Again everyone there receives a gift donated by kind supporters, and this might be the only gift they get to open on Christmas Day. There's a special atmosphere at this event, with volunteers and people who attend enjoying the day together. This is the finale to St Luke's year (although we are open between Christmas and New Year!), and fulfils one of our main aims in tackling loneliness and isolation, and looking after our community when they are in need of help. And of course there was a staff Christmas party last week at Central Street Café! It was a great evening, with lots of dancing and a Secret Santa. It's a good chance for everyone to relax and chat, and let their hair down a bit. We're lucky to have such a stylish venue onsite where we could have our party, so no-one had to go very far! Don't forget we have a special opening of our community fridge on 21st December at 11am, for those who need a little extra help with food over the festive period. Our community fridge was opened in July as a way of circulating food that would otherwise go to waste to those in need in the community. If you have anything to donate, please bring it along to St Luke's reception at any time. For many Christmas is a time to be with family, but not everyone has family close by or at all that they can be with. This is where a community hub like St Luke's can step in, and provide companionship and practical support. We wish everyone a very happy and healthy Christmas season, and we will be back with another edition of this blog in the new year!