August the 25th was the date for the third annual Summer Ball thrown by SMART. Our cafe and packing room were decked out in the theme of hollywood awards for this one special night! The Ball is a chance for everyone to get together to celebrate all the achievements of members over the year. People had made great progress in all projects, achieving qualifications in IT and catering, gaining access to voluntary activities in the Borough and completing ESOL and Gardening courses. Dancing carried on until late with some excellent disco dancing to the likes of Elvis and the Bee Gees!.
Signs of life are slowly returning to the garden – we just had out first Lily of the Valley sighting. During the winter we’ve had onions and garlic bulbs quietly doing their thing below ground (should be ready by summer), and the SMART gardeners have kept busy doing things until spring arrives. We moved the greenhouse to a sunnier position so we should be able to get double the amount of crops for our caf√© this year, got feeding the birds and made Christmas cards. Thanks to everyone who bought them from the caf√© and flower stall in the hospital, and do take a look at our new stamped or 3D designs. Each card is individually handmade, and prices start from ¬£1.
Following a lovely Christmas day (thank you to Response and Nick Hurd MP for paying for it and Jean and Anton for the live music!) and a great New Year’s Eve, it feels like 2011 has begun with a real bang. The beginning of the new year is a great chance to think back over the previous year – to decide what was good and what could have been better. It’s a chance to plan for the future armed with the experience of the past.
2010 was a great year for SMART – we won a 5 year lease for the building, held our second summer ball, raised enough money to cover all of our activities (including some great trips and workshops), welcomed Rebbecca to the team and re-started the garden project. There were some sad times too – several people passed away including Liz, a friend to many at SMART. We also said goodbye to Antonia as she set out on married life with a trip round the world (she’s currently working on a vineyard in Australia and having the time of her life!).
Looking forward, SMART may have some challenges ahead but we plan to face them together. We will be holding an Annual General Meeting soon to present our accounts and some ideas about what we could do in 2011 to better serve the people who use our service. We need members there so we can hear their views about how to move forward.