A Special Friendship at Our Drop-In

Linda and Pearl

A friendship formed at our weekly community drop-in has given confidence back to short story writer, Linda Lewis.

When Linda moved back to Exeter in 2017, the first thing she did was go to our Friday morning drop-in where she met Pearl Palmer, a lady who enjoyed reading magazines like the People’s Friend.

At that time, Linda had lost her confidence. “I have sold hundreds of stories to magazines but when I told people I was a writer, they assumed I meant novels, “ said Linda. “When I said I wrote short stories for woman’s magazines, they weren’t impressed. Meeting a fan like Pearl, showed me that what I do is worthwhile. She loves my uplifting stories because they bring a smile to her day.”

Meeting a ‘fan’ gave Linda the confidence to approach a  publisher, Alfie Dog Fiction to ask if they would publish a collection of her short stories. They said yes.

The book, Saving Sam and Other Dog Tales was launched on Wednesday at the Beacon Community Centre’s Meet and Remember Lunch Club, with Pearl in the audience. The book is available on Amazon. 

The drop-in runs from 10am - 12noon and we've got homemade cakes, hot drinks, Knit and Knatter, free games of pool, Linda occasionally runs an art table and Pearl's always up for a game of Scrabble!

Beacon Big Clean

Maintenance team

It's time for a Beacon Big Clean, a chance to tidy up, clean and declutter our wonderful community space. We've got three opportunities for you to join in - just turn up and help out.

Tuesday 13th November - POSTPONED

Maintenance/DIY Team needed to fix a door and paint a big window ledge.

Friday 16th November 12pm -1pm

Kitchen Sweep Team needed to declutter the kitchen and clean the cupboards.

Friday 16th November 12pm - 1.30pm

Gardening Team need to make the outside look as good as the inside and there will be the added incentive of hot chocolate and cake!

Date to be arranged

Store Room De-Clutter Team - our big storeroom needs a jolly good tidy up.

 

Beginners Spanish Lessons

Beginners Spanish Lessons

Want to learn Spanish? Then try our FREE taster session here on Tuesday 30th October at 10am.

Miguel is a qualified, experienced and engaging native Spanish teacher He's running a five week beginners programme for just £50, with sessions on Tuesdays, 10am-12. To find out more or to book email: espanolexeter@gmail.com

Here's a bit Miguel wrote for the First Tutors website: "My name is Miguel and I am a qualified native teacher of Spanish as a foreign language with several years of experience in different countries. I have recently moved to Exeter with the aim of keeping working in this area as a native-speaking Spanish teacher, after having travelled and learned about different cultures here in Britain and also Europe for the last few years.

Teaching Experience:

During 2014 and 2015 I have been working in Warsaw as a Spanish native teacher for the Instituto Español Sin Froteras, the biggest private Spanish language school in Poland, with groups of all levels, and also individual classes for children, professionals, and expats from various countries. Prior to that I’ve worked as Spanish private tutor in Granada, my home city in Spain, and also Edinburgh."

 

Macmillan Coffee Morning Success

Macmillan Coffee Morning

Many thanks to our Star Bakers, helpers and everyone who joined in our Macmillan World's Biggest Coffee Morning. We raised £129.63! See you next week at our community drop-in, 10am til 12pm, for more cake, hot drinks, toy library, free pool and hopefully free food from Tesco and Morrisons.

Happy 1st Birthday Knit and Knatter

Knit and Knatter 1st birthday

Congratulations to our lovely Knit and Knatter group - today celebrating their first birthday!

Well done to Becky whose passion for all thing crafty has created this wonderful, friendly group which meets every Saturday at the centre from 1.30pm to 4.30pm.  The group celebrated its birthday with a large, homemade, chocolate cake.

Knit and Knatter also meets on Friday mornings here at our community drop-in, 10am - 12pm every week. Everyone welcome.

 

 

Thank You Volunteers

Kitchen volunteers

What an incredibly busy summer!  We’re thrilled that hundreds of people came to our August Family Fun Days and Friday brunches.

We’re so grateful to our fantastic team of volunteers who have worked very hard to run these events – you’re amazing, thank you so much! We also want to thank our sponsors who funded these events: Liverty, Tesco, Domino’s Pizza, Southwest Military Fitness, Dave Robertson and Karl Straw.

Don’t forget our Friday Community Drop-Ins every week, 10am – midday,  cake and hot drinks, toys, free pool, toy library. All ages very welcome.

Save money on winter electricity bills

Energy card and pennies

Our friends at Exeter Community Energy have told us about this – it’s a chance to apply for a Government discount, saving £140 on your electricity costs this winter. But you’ve got to be quick.

If are eligible AND you have a LIVE Electricity supply with Utilita, you can only apply during a one-week application window opening tomorrow 8 August at 2pm and closing 15 August at 2pm.

https://utilita.co.uk/help/warm-home-discount

Need some help with this? Then contact our good friend Tara Bowers, energy advisor at Exeter Community Energy who regularly pops into our Friday drop-in.

Call Tara on: 07731 540215 or Email: tara@ecoe.org.uk

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Lots of Fun at Fete

Lots of Fun at Fete

The Beacon Heath Summer Fete was a great success with hundreds of local people having fun in the sun. Event organiser, Mike Brooks from St James School said: “Community spirit is alive and flourishing in Beacon Heath. It was great to work alongside the Beacon Community Centre and Spring Nursery and to see so many people enjoying themselves.”

 

Knight Club Reunion

Knight Club memories

Former staff and members enjoyed a wonderful evening remembering the good times they enjoyed here at the Knight Club.

Hundreds of young people and dozens of staff have walked through the youth club’s doors since its opening in 1967 and there was a lot of catching up to do. This was the first reunion since the club closed in 2014. The 1992 time capsule and video celebrating the club’s 25th anniversary were very popular. Mike Roach, a former leader and football club leader brought his albums along too.

Michael Miles, a former club member  was thrilled to buy the original Knight Club sign and plans to display it with other memorabilia at his Exeter business.

The Beacon Community Centre event organiser, Liz Straw, said: “We all had a great night. It was so lovely to see the big hugs and smiles as good friends and colleagues caught up on each other’s news and looked back at their happy times here. We spent a lot of time looking at old photos and remembering names. We felt very privileged to host this reunion and celebrate all the hard work the staff put into this community and we hope we can emulate their success.”

One of the best stories of the night was Billy Mair getting stuck on top of the basketball wire fence and being rescued by the fire brigade. Billy's sister Anna told the story while looking through Mike Roach's Beacon Knights football club album and finding Billy. She took a photo and sent it to Billy who now lives in Australia.

 

Stallholders wanted for Beacon Heath Fete

Beacon Heath Fete

Stallholders are wanted for the Beacon Heath Fete, Saturday 23 June, 12pm -3pm at St James School.

It's going to be an action packed day, with lots of fun activities for the whole family and we'd love stallholders to join us at the school.

We don't ask for a fee, we have a chat with you at the end of the day to see how you got on and ask for a donation. Tables are provided and there is parking. Please contact us if you'd like a stall:info@thebeaconcentre.org

On the day we've also got archery, well wanging, fire engine, face painting, Birds of Prey and lots more! Join us for a great day out in Beacon Heath!

Pool Champion

pool champion

We held our first ever pool competition over the weekend. Plenty of regulars play every week on the two tables at youth clubs, social groups and the Friday morning drop-in so we thought it's about time to see who is the best at The Beacon.

Six guys took part and had a great time together trialling this kind event.

The competition was delivered through a league table and knock-out phase run over both pool tables. The early lead runner was 'Disco Steve' who was undefeated in the group stage. He found himself surprisingly knocked out in the semi-finals to former Beacon manager Rich. It was Jon however who came out on top form in a best of 3 final to secure a famous victory after defeating Gerald in the semis! Well done Jon!

Cracking Fun

Cracking Fun

What a great time was had on Friday night at The Beacon Quiz.  Eleven teams competed in various categories: Family Fortunes, general knowledge, musical chairs, Who Am I? and the awesome cracker challenge pictured. Thanks everyone for making it such a fun time - see you all again on Friday 27 July.

Thanks Tesco for supporting our fab Family Fun Day

Many thanks to Stuart, Tesco's local bakery manager who gave us fresh rolls for our Family Fun Day and every week provides us with free food to give away.  Stuart is pictured, centre, with Beacon manager, Kate Galliford and our amazing volunteer Dave Robertson who collects the food from Tesco, up to three times a week.

A total of 70 children and 30 adults came along to our Easter family fun day and enjoyed exciting activities and lunch.

We're also grateful to the Merry Go Round Toy Library and Recycle Devon for their support.

 

Free food this Friday 6 April

We've got lots of free food to give away this Friday, 6 April, 10am - 12noon during our Community Drop-In.

Our good friends at Tesco give us their surplus food which we put out on a table for everyone to help themselves, take as much as you need. We've got satsumas, cakes, bread,  Mr Kipling lemon slices, eggs, crumpets, mangoes and apples.

We've got more than usual to give away as our regular weekly groups who enjoy this free food, have not met during the holidays. Please join us for a hot drink, cakes, (no charge) a game of pool,  Knit and Knatter, board games or just sit and enjoy a chat with our friendly regulars at the drop-in.

 

Spinning Top Toy Library Official Opening

Spinning Top Toy Library

We had lots of fun at the official opening of the Spinning Top Toy Library. Families enjoyed playing together with the huge selection of high quality toys. Our local county councillor, Hilary Ackland, who's a great supporter of the centre, cut the ribbon declaring the toy library open. Also, attending were a team from Devon and Cornwall Housing Association, now re-branded Liverty. We're very grateful to Hilary and Liverty for their continued support and are delighted to welcome the toy library, another great service for local families.

 

 

Welcome Kate

Kate Galliford

It’s time to give a big welcome to Kate Galliford, our new centre manager,  and say a sad goodbye to our good friend Richard Cummings.

Kate’s appointment marks an exciting time in the life of our centre, as our increasing activities and events are helping towards creating community in Beacon Heath.

We're sad to say goodbye to Richard “two jobs" Cummings who has worked incredibly hard setting up the centre and running it.

As Isca Church's community worker Richard started developing plans in November 2014 to re-open the centre which was closed due to council cuts. He then also took on the role of centre manager, hence the two jobs title; Richard’s moving on, but is still supporting the growth and development of the centre, so you’ll still see him around.


Kate, a mum of two, who has lived in Beacon Heath for the past six years with her husband Karl, has been a highly committed volunteer here at the centre for the past year. She’s helped with our popular family fun days, our Christmas craft fair and recently organised a successful tabletop sale.

She’s previously worked with learning disabled adults and spent seven years in youth work and has had voluntary roles with St Petrock’s, the Samaritans and helping elderly people.

Kate said: “I’m really excited about putting my passion into the centre to continue its growth and to introduce more activities into the community.”

Congratulations Heather and Gerald

Happy Golden Wedding Anniversary

Congratulations Heather and Gerald

Congratulations to Heather and Gerald on their golden wedding anniversary. Heather and Gerald are amazing volunteers here at the centre and we want to celebrate the wonderful marriage of a wonderful couple.

We honestly don't know what we'd do without them. Every week Heather cooks a hot lunch for our Meet and Remember group and makes the most amazing cakes for our community drop-in. While Gerald is our maintenance man, if something needs fixing he's our man! Both spend many hours every week helping make our centre a warm, welcoming space and we're just so happy that they're part of our Beacon family.

Table Top Fun

Our first Table Top Sale was a great success. We had lots of lovely stallholders selling lots of goodies, a great children's activities room and even a beautician giving manicures and massages. It was a wonderful, fun packed morning.

The children especially enjoyed the Playdough Factory with lots of different types of playdoughs, the messy foam table, beads and threading as well as crown making.

Homemade cakes were washed down with hot drinks and it was a relaxing, sociable morning.

Another Award and Christmas Fair

Santa Christmas Fair

It's been a great week! We've won another award thanks to the news site DevonLive and we've just held a very successful third Christmas fair!

We were nominated as Community Centre of the Year in the Devon Community Honours 2017 and received our prize at a glittering reception at Exeter Castle, while over this weekend we welcomed hundreds of local people to our fair, with lots of stalls, a visit to Santa and a chance for a cuppa and cake.

Judi Spiers hosted the DevonLive event, attended by Olympian Jo Pavey, Exeter Chiefs Tony Rowe and the Lord Lieutenant of Devon, to recognise the amazing work carried out across the county by volunteers. Guests were treated to a high tea with plenty of Prosecco.

The community centre award was sponsored by Western Power Distribution which said:"Community Centres, like our business operate at the heart of its community. They often provide a safe haven for people who seek the company of others in a shared activity or event. They can also provide useful resources and offer a wealth of training and support services to help people manage difficult situations affecting them and their families.

"They bring together people who make up the diverse nature of the local community to have fun, share experiences and support others. We are delighted to support the amazing people who make these community centres such a valuable resource for the wider community!"

Knit and Natter

Join our friendly Knit, Natter, Crochet and Cross Stitch group meeting here on:

Friday 10am-12noon during the Community Drop-In - enjoy a cuppa and cake!

Saturday 1.30pm-4.30pm - there is a small charge of £2.50 for this session to cover room rental and refreshments.

Don't worry if you don't have any yarn or needles, we can supply some.

If you want more info please contact the centre on 01329 204979

Need Help Using The Internet?

Laptop coffee square

We're offering free digital help next Friday ( 6 Oct) from 10am until 12noon as well as a cuppa and cake!

Now that sounds like a great offer! We're taking part in National Get Online Week when digital experts from Lloyds Bank will be available to help you, whether you’re brand-new to the internet, or you want a bit of help getting more from being online.

The help will be on offer in a very relaxed friendly atmosphere, as it’s taking place during our normal community drop-in offering cake with a cuppa. You’ll be encouraged to Try 1 Thing - use the internet to do just one thing you’d normally do in a shop or bank, in a doctor’s or chemist, or even over the phone.

Keri Ilston, Beacon Centre manager, said: “Almost everyone has heard about some of the ways the internet can help you save money, save time, and make life easier and more fun. But if you’re not confident using a computer, tablet or smartphone, or you’ve heard about some of the dangers of being online, it can be difficult to take that next step.

“Getting the most out of the internet doesn’t have to be scary. We think that doing just one thing online is all you need to do to get started. There’ll be lots of friendly support for anyone who wants to start doing a bit more online - and it’s free. People can call us on 204979 to find out more, or just pop in and see what’s happening. The more the merrier and everyone’s welcome!”

Hundreds enjoyed our Family Fun Days this summer

Family Fun Days in August

More than 300 children and adults came along to our four Family Fun Days held during August.

It was a hugely successful project, providing entertainment, activities and food for local families during the long summer holidays. We are very grateful to our sponsors for their support: Dave and Ian Robertson, Folk2Folk, Saladmaster, Emma and Rob Morse, Maria Alford, Liz and Karl Straw, our activity helpers, Love Local Food, FabLab Devon, Exeter Library, Active Devon, Emma Morse, Exeter City Football Club, Disco Steve, Lyndsay from Messy Play, Michelle, glitter painting and all our amazing volunteers who worked so hard to make this happen.

Check out our Facebook Page for some great pictures of the days.

Thank you everyone.

Thanks Radio Devon!

Meet and Remember

We’ve been on Radio Devon twice in a week! This is great publicity and a great chance to remind you of all the amazing things which happen here.

Late this morning Fitz was interviewing John Greenfield from our award-winning Meet and Remember Memory Café and this seems a good opportunity to ask for help to run the café. We meet every Wednesday morning and we’d love to hear from anybody who’s available to set out chairs and tables or help serve lunch and wash up. Please email us if you’re interested – info@thebeaconcentre.org.Come and be part of a wonderful group, last week we helped Ted and Betty, pictured, celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary - a special day for everybody.

Last week presenter Gordon Sparks invited the centre’s volunteer press officer Liz Straw to join an impromptu and slightly mad “competition” between us and a village hall to find out which was the best. Gordon loved our recent idea to name all the rooms after biscuits – food is an integral part of what happens here. We sent him some Hobnobs and he was delighted! Our lovely, large, light hall is now called the Hobnob Hall, our children’s room is Jammie Dodger, our quiet room is the chilled Malted Milk room, the foodbank operates from Chocolate Digestive and our fourth room is Custard Cream.

Thanks Radio Devon for supporting us – we’re very grateful. We love this place and we’re glad you like it too!

Beacon Heath Summer Fete Success

Beacon Heath Summer Fete

Hundreds of people came along to the Beacon Heath Summer Fete and enjoyed a great day out, with a variety of entertainment and attractions including birds of prey, exotic animals, a graphic design suite and a good range of local stalls.

There was a real buzz as lots of children had a go on the laptop computers printing their own design stickers and parents and children competed to build the strongest Lego bridge.  PCSO Rich Shelton worked for the first time with his new team of police cadets who were very helpful in making the whole event run smoothly. The fete was held over three sites, St James’ School, The Beacon Community Centre and the Beacon Nursery.

Happy 2nd Birthday!

Beacon's 2nd Birthday party

We celebrated our 2nd birthday in style - with a lovely cake, made by the lovely Heather and party games.

Richard Cummings, centre manager, made a short speech detailing the successes of the centre during the past year. "The centre now has a firm financial footing and we’re excited to announce that we have employed a part-time cleaner and next month we will be starting the process of recruiting a new part-time manager. These appointments are due to the centre’s healthy numbers of bookings which is the result of the amazing hard work of our team of volunteers – thank you for being part of The Beacon family. I'll still be around to support the new manager in developing the centre, as well as continue community work for Isca Church.

"During the past year, we’ve won an award as the best community centre in Exeter and our friends from Meet and Remember also won an award. Nearly all the activities which take place here have seen an increase in the numbers of people coming along. We couldn’t have done this without a terrific team of volunteers so thank you everyone for putting in your time and effort. If you’d like to join one of the teams making things happen please speak to me or a current volunteer.

"We’ve just launched our new website. www.thebeaconcentre.org and we’d love your feedback. If you look on the front page you’ll see a link to a survey – please spend a few minutes to let us know what you think. Thank you for being part of the life of our centre and here’s to another great year ahead!

Well Done Spring Cleaners!

Spring Clean Success

A big thank you to our top Spring Clean Team who turned out in force to spruce the centre up. We're so pleased to have got so many jobs done - our To Do list, just got shorter!

We've been open for two years so it's important we maintain the centre, to ensure it's safe and welcoming for the many hundreds of people who pass through our doors every week.

One of the jobs we're most pleased to have got done is painting those awful security gates at our front entrance - they're now a warm, welcoming blue instead of the cold, galvanised steel - many thanks to Terry's team.

Check out our Facebook page to see lots of fun pictures.  If you weren't able to join us this time then look out for our Autumn Clean.