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Firing up the barbecue for a sizzling reunion - pictures now available.

Date: 29/07/2008           Category: Childrens Care

A promise of fun in the sunshine, a tasty feast of barbecued food and a chance to see old friends attracted 160 people to a reunion at a children’s centre in Chatham. On Thursday, 24 July, staff at the All Saints Sure Start Children’s Centre in Magpie Hall Road held a reunion for centre users past and present who have benefited from the services they provide. On one of the hottest days of the year so far, children played in the garden area, had their faces painted, and enjoyed arts and craft sessions, while their parents caught up with the friends they had met at the centre’s many clubs and sessions. Karen and Tony Eden have been coming to the centre since they moved from Surrey to Chatham four years ago. Their two children Alfie, 5, and Poppy, 2, look forward to coming to the centre and have made some new friends, who they played with at the reunion. Mum Karen said: “We think the centre is fantastic. We didn’t know anyone when we moved to Medway, but everyone at the centre went out of their way to make us feel welcome and part of the community. “Alfie and Poppy love coming here. Today has given us the opportunity to talk to our neighbours and the friends we have met through the centre. We just wish the centre was bigger and open longer.” The reunion gave centre staff the opportunity to find out what services and activities the families have accessed to find out how effective the centre’s services has been for their family. Lisa Tucker’s two children, Lauren, 9 and Morgan, 7, both benefited from the centre’s services that took place at Tramways Community Centre, in Chatham where the All Saints Pre-school is now based Lisa said: “I think Sure Start is great. It teaches children the social skills they need for life as they’re encouraged to mix with people of different ages and from different cultures. “My children are too old to use Sure Start now, but it has been great fun catching up with old friends and finding out what everyone has been up to.” Community Development Co-ordinator Jo Bunn said: “The reunion was a great success. We had more people turn up than we expected, but it was wonderful to see familiar faces and to find out how they are. “The main purpose of the event was to enable us to find out more about the services they accessed and the areas we could improve on. It’s given the team information we can use to ensure we continue to support the families who use the centre in the most effective way.” Chefs David Lee and Astrid Makepeace sold 110 homemade kebabs and burgers throughout the day, as well as tasty salads, handmade coleslaw and fruit punch.