And so that time of year rolls around again – mid to late summer can only mean one thing
ACTIVITIES DAY 2018!!
After weeks, if not months, of planning PU3A darkened the doors of Peterborough Regional College for their yearly big-bash.
A change of venue had been arranged to get around the yearly complaint about too little parking at The Fleet. There was no problem with there being enough spaces this year and the Car Park Marshalls did a sterling job, in shifts, keeping people on the right track. We had increased the number of disabled bays 5-fold by moving to the college, however due to the nature of our group it is unlikely we will ever have enough spaces to park everyone close to the doors. It worked quite well though with people dropping off at the entrance and then parking a little further away.
The room provided was also somewhat bigger so the hope was that all of the groups could be in one room, rather than some tucked away in side rooms. It almost worked, we still had to utilise the reception area for a few of our stalls. With groups as varied as Architecture to Astronomy and Welsh to Wood Turning there was something there for everyone to look at.
Some of our participation groups had stands set up for people to “have a go” such as Scrabble and Canasta – but it would have been stretching things a bit to have “Give it a try Belly Dancing” 😊 . Many of our groups attracted new members to their numbers, with one group (Basic Spanish) getting so much interest that the Group Leader has decided to start a second group. The Travel Group took bookings from dozens of globe trotters ensuring they will have a good 2019.
More generally we had the usual rush to renew membership, and the room set aside for registration was, as always, rather crowded for the first 2 hours. The helpers hardly had time to breathe. We suggest every year that to avoid the rush time it so you renew after about 1:30 – maybe our members like to get their bodies squeezed – who knows 😊. The staff from the college estimated that we had over 1000 people through the doors throughout the day – which compared to the registration going on in one of the other buildings for college courses was pretty good. Apparently they attracted 20 youngsters for their activities – maybe they need to change their target audience to a more mature age group 😊.
The cafeteria (or refectory as they call them educational establishments) was a great success - in fact so much so that supplies ran out (which has never happened before). We catered for the same sort of numbers of sales as previous years, but the members were obviously dehydrated and famished this year. Gill did her best and had to send out for more tea and coffee just to keep up. Lessons have been learnt, but we do need to cater for what we expect as we can’t store bulk refreshments from event to event.
The Deputy Mayor and Mayoress (John and Judy Fox) had an hour or two supporting us, and as in previous years he showed great interest as he was shown around by our Chairman (Brenda Fearon).
We had performances from our Belly Dancers, The Ukulele Group, our Poetry Writing Group and Sing Something Simple. The performances were in the cafeteria, and in the main this worked well. However due to the general hubbub of chat the poetry recitals got a little lost for volume. We will need to look at a better sound system for next year if we return to the same place. Sing Something Simple and the Ukulele players had their audience singing along and generally lifting the spirits – and the Belly Dancers were a visual delight in their chiffon and finery.
A few attendees did mention that they were not aware that they couldn’t access the venue until 11am even though we heavily advertised the fact prior to the event. The reason for this is that the Group Leaders need time to set up their stalls and make last minute adjustments prior to open the flood gates. Within 5 minutes of the doors opening the hall was so crowded that any set up would have been impossible. We humbly suggest that next year members check what time the doors open to save them queuing outside.
It seemed as if the overwhelming feeling was that PRC was a better venue than the Fleet on various fronts – just a few of the numerous received comments shown below :
The following points have been raised by members about this year’s event for consideration for next year – initial committee thoughts are in red – but we will give further thought when organising next year’s event to see if we can find solutions.