boy playing the electric guitar

Greenfield Hosts Silver Friends Banquet

Posted: 6th December 2022

On Saturday 3rd December, Greenfield School hosted the Silver Friends community for a festive 3-course banquet, complete with singing and laughter.

What is Silver Friends?
Founded in 2022, Silver Friends is a charity that focuses on connecting senior citizens in our community who reside in care homes or retirement communities. Many of the people that Silver Friends look after have limited mobility, live alone, or are socially isolated. Whilst they currently look after the Woking borough, (though looking to expand nationwide), Silver Friends is committed to serving and making a real positive difference in the wellbeing of senior citizens by offering social events and home befriending services. Through events like this seasonal lunch, the Silver Friends aim to enrich the quality of life, boost wellbeing and provide a varied social life for its community.

Christmas Lunch at Greenfield
Greenfield School occupies a spacious, modern and accessible building and, since moving into new accommodation back in April, the school’s leadership team has been looking for new ways to engage with and support local community ventures. The airy, sunlit dining hall that usually inhabits the school children’s lunch every day hosted over 70 senior citizens on Saturday for a traditional Christmas lunch, complete with all the trimmings. Food was provided by Bidfood and expertly prepared by CH&Co; led by Greenfield’s resident Head Chef Stuart Kerr. As coffee and Christmas cake were served, a raffle was held where one person on each table won a hamper kindly provided by Morrisons.

Bringing Woking Community Together
A local performing arts group provided entertainment at the event; singing and dancing their favourite Christmas carols, conducted by Greenfield’s Assistant Head and Director of Music Beth Snowden-Brown. For their final performance, the children interspersed amongst the diners and invited all to join in their carolling for a jolly finale to the meal.

Transport for the event came from a range of helpers and volunteers; from Bustler buses, taxis and several Greenfield staff who joined the ranks on the day to help. As well as dedicated Silver Friends volunteers, a group of Greenfield staff assisted at the event including Bursar Meg Gardiner Boiling and Headmistress Tania Botting. Lunch attendees included Woking Mayor Cllr Saj Hussain as well as Silver Friends trustees Mandy Smook, Sandra Smook, Mark Hua and Joanna Shackleton.

Spreading Joy
The most important attendees – Woking’s senior community – gave wonderful feedback on the event and enjoyed chatting to their peers, volunteers and the children. For most of the attendees, this was the first time that they had enjoyed a Christmas celebration in over three years. Furthermore, lots of the guests remarked on the joy felt from watching children laugh and sing; something that had become a rarity in many of their lives.

As the afternoon came to a close, and the guests waited for transport, many took the opportunity to thank the volunteers and chefs for their meal. They were all incredibly grateful for the event and loved the food (“not like school dinners back in my day!”), and relished the opportunity to connect with friends – one of the main purposes of the Silver Friends initiative. Transporting one merry group back to their homes, Ms Gardiner Boiling overheard one guest say to another of the event, “…that will keep me warm till well past Christmas!”

Greenfield School hopes to welcome back the Silver Friends community very soon.

Silver Friends Mission as a charity: to relieve the needs of elderly people who are lonely and isolated through social interaction within the local community and to provide or assist in the provision of facilities for recreational and leisure time occupation with the object of improving the conditions of life of those people who have need for such facilities by reason of their age and or infirmity.

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