Happy October!   October is my favourite month.  It’s the beginning of sweater weather, the leaves really start to change colour, the air turns crisp and it’s the start of soup-making season!  I’ve done chicken noodle, Red Kuri squash and vegetable soups so far.   Plunk one of them down in front of me with a buttered, crusty dinner roll or some homemade croutons and I’m in heaven.

It is also the month of my favourite holiday,  Halloween!  I know it’s a relatively new phenomenon in the UK and not everyone is a fan, but in North America, where I’m from, Halloween is a kid’s second biggest holiday after Christmas.   It’s my first favourite holiday though, because it was also my grandparent’s favourite holiday.   They went all out.  They would dress up the entire house, inside and out, and Grandma made a lot of the decorations herself.   Black paper with glow in the dark paint lining the walls of the rooms, scarecrows with glowing eyes, white sheet ghosts, pipecleaner spiders happily scaring people right alongside frightening décor bought from the shops.  She always said the cobwebs were real though because she couldn’t reach to clean the corners of the rooms.

And just like Field of Dreams, people would come from miles away just to see it.   I’m talking a lot of people.  One year we handed out 350 bags of sweets before we ran out and still more came.  It was like that almost every year.

I hope you all have a great Halloween but please always keep in mind good Halloween etiquette.   Look for lit pumpkins in the front garden, keep in mind your vulnerable neighbours who may get nervous or frightened with hordes of zombies, ghouls and goblins roaming the streets, especially when confronted by groups of bloodied and undead bigger kids, possibly trick or treating for the first time without supervision.  Also look out for each other on the night, especially over-excited children racing from house to house, not necessarily paying attention to potential hazards.  Please make sure you carry flashlights and your little ones are visible to road traffic!

Now,  none of this has anything to do with The Care Hub updates but I’m in full October celebration mode. 

At The Care Hub, we have undergone a little refresher in the last few weeks.   We have a new coat of paint and some new furniture!  We would like to invite you all down to the Arcade to see our new look.   Our aim has always been to be an inviting place for people to gather, get information or help, if they need it, and have a bit of social interaction in a smaller group setting.   Hopefully, with the redecoration, we are a bit closer to achieving that.

We also want to remind everyone that we offer a Community Navigator service from The Hub.   A Community Navigator is a person who helps connect elderly and vulnerable people with the services, activities and information they need in order to build up a strong network of support in the community.   Having a strong network and social interaction is proven to fight depression, loneliness and slow the progression of Dementia, which is part of the Hub’s mission.   We can also assist people with applying for Attendants Allowance, Carers Allowance, Blue Badges and more.

We welcome referrals to people who may be struggling to get out of their homes, are lonely or need some support setting up needed services.  If need be, we’ll go with them on their first outing to a new activity and introduce them to others.  All our staff are DBS checked and trained in First Aid.

We charge an administration fee for these services.   For help in filling out benefits applications,  we charge £10 per hour.   On average, completing a benefit application takes about 1 hour.

For the Navigator service,  a first consultation in the Hub or by phone is free.  An in-home assessment & delivery of recommendations is £35.00 and £20.00 per hour for follow up visits.   We, and many other Navigator programmes in Berks, Bucks and Oxon, recommend a full assessment followed by twice monthly follow up visits to assess how things are going and whether changes need to be made.   These should last until the person feels happy and well supported in the community.  Please call The Hub at 01491 525639 to book an assessment or refer someone you think would benefit from the service.

So What Else Is Going On?

We are so excited to announce Fireside Chats, happening every other month, beginning on 5 November at 1pm.

Fireside Chats are informal meet ups with subject matter experts on various topics, taking place on a 1 to 1 basis in the Hub.   Our first chat welcomes Jane Whitfield, Private Client Solicitor at Barrett And Co..   Jane is also an active Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends Champion and Vice-President of the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Law Society.   She has graciously agreed to come to answer questions and advise on Power of Attorney and Wills.   Please make the effort to come down and chat with her.  It’s not often you get the chance at ‘free’ legal advice on POA and Wills, so take the afternoon off work as the chat is open to everyone.

There is no charge but we are kindly asking everyone for a donation to The Alzheimer’s Society.

Jenny Fay Art Exhibition

This is open until December.  Jenny is an amazing local artist who’s Henley Regatta series prints are now showing in the Hub.

Seated Tai Chi

Our seated Tai Chi class took a small break over the summer but it’s been back since the beginning of October.   The classes are held at the Goring Community Centre on Station Street, every Thursday at 2pm.   The class concentrates on helping participants increase their balance and core strength to prevent falls.   Cost is £5 per session and £45 if you pay for 10 sessions in advance.

Books & Poetry

Every 2nd Tuesday of the month, we offer a Book & Poetry afternoon at The Hub, starting at 2pm.   We offer a selection of books including braille, audio and large print formats.   If you prefer poetry,  bring some of your own compositions, read some poetry or write some new poems!   Again,  to help keep the lights on and the doors open, we kindly ask for a small fee of £2.   Free coffee & tea though!

Coffee Morning

On Mondays at 11am, we host a relaxed and informal coffee morning at The Hub.   You may be someone just looking for something to do on a Monday morning, someone who needs an ear to listen or you might be a carer looking for a break and some support.   Come and have a coffee (or tea!) with us!   We kindly request a fee of just £2  to help cover our costs but coffees and teas are free!

Knitting Circle

Every 3rd Wednesday of the month, starting at 2pm, we host our Knitting Circle club.  Every month, we try to focus on easy patterns that serve a charitable purpose.  Previously, we have knitted items for the premature babies at the Buscot Baby Unit of RBH.    On the 21st of  November,  our charity is Katherine House Hospice in Banbury.   You can read more about Katherine House at www.khh.org.uk

We will be knitting little Christmas themed chocolate holders for their annual fundraiser.   We have a small supply of needles and yarn but more donations are always gratefully received (especially yarn in Christmas colours!).    A fee of £2 per person is to help us cover costs.

Jigsaw Puzzle Club

Every Thursday at 2pm, if you’re not at the Tai Chi class, come to The Hub for the Jigsaw Puzzle Club.  All abilities welcome.  A chat and a cuppa for £2 per person!

Chess Club

Starting on 27 October, we are hosting Chess Club  at The Hub on Saturdays at 11am.  All ages are welcome!  We are hoping there are some younger kids interested in coming to hang with us oldies and play a little chess?  Anyone up for a friendly challenge?  Again, we kindly request a fee of £2 per person and the refreshments are free!

For all of these clubs, we rely on donations to be able to provide some of the needed resources, such as knitting needles, yarn, chess sets, puzzles and more.   We are ALWAYS happy to accept kind donations.  If you have any of these things you aren’t using, we would gladly make good use of them down at the Hub.   We would also love some materials to make fiddle cushions or fiddle blankets.   Things like buttons, zips, beads, different textures of material, clean cushions or larger bits of material suitable for making fiddle items for people with dementia are gratefully received.

Looking forward to seeing you at The Hub!