This popular annual event was held at Taylor’s Court, Belfast on Friday, 24th November and proved a lovely start to the Christmas season. Alpha staff served up a welcome cuppa and tray bake to all visitors, who chanced their luck in the draw for a host of prizes and browsed happily among the many handcrafted goods on offer.
There was a great selection of hand-knitted and crocheted clothing and blankets – for babies, children and even adults – as well as ornamental glassware, flower arrangements and plants, Christmas ornaments, handmade cards, paintings and original photographs. And, of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without plenty of home-baked goods to take home too.
Alpha Christmas Fayre 2017 (9)
Tracy Barker, scheme manager at Agherton Grange, Portstewart, selling some of the lovely hand-knitted and crocheted garments.
Sarah Young, Senior Housing Officer at Alpha, said the success of the Christmas Fayre is due to the enthusiastic participation of tenants at sheltered schemes across Northern Ireland. “A different scheme hosts each each year but tenants everywhere are busy long beforehand, knitting or crocheting, making decorations, cards or other hand-crafted gifts, growing plants or baking.
“They really look forward to it and some people sit in our communal areas from 9am to 5pm making their arts and crafts. It’s also a great way to get to know their neighbours and on the day of the Fayre itself, they really enjoy the day out. Some of them go on to visit the Christmas markets in the afternoon as well.
In keeping with the spirit of the season, the festive fun was all in aid of a good cause. All proceeds, more than £1,700, will go to support the work of NI Chest, Heart and Stroke, the charity works to prevent chest, heart and stroke illnesses in Northern Ireland and care for those already affected by them.
Alpha chief executive Cameron Watt highlighted the importance of these kind of events. He said, “Many congratulations to Alpha tenants and staff who contributed to a hugely successful Christmas fayre. Tackling isolation amongst older people is vitally important and, thanks to the Housing Executive’s Supporting People programme, we can employ staff to run activities like this. The fayre is just one example of why Supporting People funding needs to be protected for next year to ensure vital work with older people and other vulnerable groups can continue.”