Once a year I go to the Joint Charities Annual Christmas Market in Chandler’s Ford to buy a few Christmas cards (I don’t have that many friends to send cards to) and use it as a chance to catch up with friends, and also have my coffee morning with friends at the Dovetail Centre Café.
This morning a few friends joined me, including two from Eastleigh, who came over straight after their weekly Eastleigh 5k parkrun. They must have run pretty fast (it was pretty muddy and slippery, I heard) this morning to get to Chandler’s Ford well before 11am (also after having a shower).
The beauty of the yearly Joint Charities Annual Christmas Market is that it gives us a chance to slow down (slowing down for Christmas?), to chat with friends old and new, to buy a few small gifts, support charities with our wallet…. and enjoy a relaxing morning together.
The Chandler’s Ford 44th Joint Charities Christmas Market took place this morning at the Chandler’s Ford Methodist Church Hall. It was opened by Des Scott (past mayor of Eastleigh).
The participating charities are:
- Bloodwise: Beating blood cancer
- British Heart Foundation: We fight for every heartbeat
- Climb: Children Living with Inherited Metabolic Diseases
- Cystic Fibrosis Trust: Fighting for a life unlimited
- Eastleigh Borough and Romsey Mencap Society: Protect and enhance the life chances of children and adults with learning disabilities
- Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST): Changing lives. We take both able-bodied and disabled people to sea.
- Muscular Dystrophy UK: Fighting muscle-wasting conditions
- Myaware: Fighting Myasthenia together
- Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB): Supporting people with sight loss
- Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI): Saving lives at sea
- Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (The RSPB): Giving nature a home
There are banners at the Fryern Arcade and outside the church – the event is well advertised and it attracts lots of people. There is always something for someone: Christmas cards, knitted gloves, hand-made monsters and puppets, crocheted boxes, playing cards, candles, home-made cakes, pens, diaries… I also saw someone buying a unique framed painting worth £30 (I’m quite sure I didn’t mis-read the price tag. If I do, someone please correct me.).
Most of the items are inexpensive and they make nice presents. I feel that many people these days have had everything that they ever need and they really do not need expensive pointless items for Christmas, so little hand-made gifts or charity items picked up from the market seem ideal. You probably help save the planet too when supporting the charities by not having some over-packaged items delivered by Amazon.
Running a charity raffle
You think running a charity raffle is easy? There are lots of running around throughout the year, and keeping calm on the day. From a distance, the raffle stand looks like a high-pressured world of the election night vote counter, but the difference is that everybody at the raffle hub was smiley.
Now look at the generous contributions and the donations of raffle prizes this year, and the core people who made the event go smoothly:
The many representatives from each charity are the same people I see each year. They have been to the same event year after year and dedicate their time to their causes throughout the year. I asked my friend Caroline Tilley (from RNLI) what the biggest challenge is that many charities face today. She told me that it’s a lack of volunteers and supporters.
Without volunteers and supporters, these charities will face more challenges to continue their good causes. Therefore, whilst reading this, please consider if you or someone else could volunteer for these charities . Below is a list of the local contacts for these charities:
Here are some photographs of the day. I’m sorry I didn’t have the chance to photograph all the stalls (as some people were too busy to stop for photos; some people were too shy). However I saw a Daily Echo photographer there with his rather impressive zoom lens, so hopefully there’ll be some great photos coming out there. (My camera is a humble old Canon PowerShot S95.)
Well done for the Chandler’s Ford Joint Charities Committee for yet another brilliant event. Special thanks go to Caroline Husain,Val Milner, and Jennifer.
The Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade
Apart from the Christmas Market, the Dovetail Centre was buzzing with activities. The Boys’ & Girls’ Brigades were also holding the annual Table Top Sale in the Church Linkway. The Brigades are brilliant organisations, which have nurtured young people, and the famous Brigade Band have played an important part in our community.
If you are interested, you could find out more of their activities here: Boys’ & Girls’ Brigades