End of year recap!

Written by Megan

January 3, 2024

Well… it’s been quite the year for us here at FCDC. We’ve been busy with endless events, launching new projects, and working alongside amazing groups/organisations. We have welcomed so many new families, and have seen a significant growth in the people we support and areas we have been able to reach.

September

We started off the new school year by doing exactly that.. moving to our new school along with Elmfield Primary. The new site is amazing, with plenty of space and our lovely new office which we love. We were very much looking forward to welcoming our families here for our the upcoming events at FCDC.
We then headed for some breakfast at our favourite spot, Lawrence Weston community farm. We set the tables ready for our families to arrive. We took their orders as they chose from our specially created FCDC menu, including all your breakfast favourites. As they tucked into their food there were board games, colouring and toys to play with too. Everyone enjoyed a catch up after the busy summer holidays then went outside to explore the rest of the farm.
Our next trip was to Hollywood Bowl for a game of family bowling. There was lots of healthy competition, myself and Helen took part too (bumpers included). We also welcomed two new families, which was lovely. Our families finished off a morning of bowling by heading over to the arcade.

 

We then paid a visit to New Oriel Hall in Bath as part of our outreach project. We set out lots of toys for the children to play with whilst the adults had a tea/coffee and a catch up. We were joined by two Teacher’s of the Deaf who were able to provide any information the families needed. After a morning of fun we ended our session with singing/signing our goodbye song.

It was then time for one of our family sign sessions online over zoom. Our families were guided through and taught by the lovely Clair and our interpreter Joe covering day to day topics. Our families did amazingly well learning all of the basic signs. They finished off the session with any questions they had and a game.

Our last event was a trip to Bannerman road for one of our outreach projects. Here we welcomed families who live in and around the Easton area to join us for a stay and play session. We caught up with families, played games, told stories and sang some songs whilst signing along.

October

In October autumn was in full swing and we thought our parents deserved a cosy morning at Kiln pottery painting. We all decided which pieces we wanted to paint, and got started over some coffee and cake. Our parents/carers designed a variety of beautiful cups, pots, and bowls which they were then able to take home a few weeks later.

It was then time for an event we were really looking forward to.. Our young person’s weekend away in Weymouth. We couldn’t believe our luck when we arrived from Bristol in the minibus and the sun was shining over the sea. Our camp was a stones throw away from the beach, and had all the activities you could wish for on site. We spent the Weekend, raft building, paddle boarding, climbing, zip lining, rifle shooting, and so much more. Myself, Helen and our Interpreter Joe even had a go on the big swing (very much encouraged to by our young people of course). In-between all of those adrenaline filled activities our youth group was able to have some chilled down-time to catch up with each other, play board games and relax around a campfire.

As the sun disappeared we took a muddy trip to Bristol Forest School. Our families came prepared in their wet weather gear and wellies and were guided into the forest. We took part in a pine cone treasure hunt, created our own piece of art using things we found lying around in the forest, and sat back and relaxed in the woodland’s hammocks. Our families sat around the campfire as we toasted marshmallows to make s’mores and shared what our favourite part of the day was.

It was then time for our annual Halloween party. Everyone dressed up in their spookiest attire and arrived at Elmfield school where we had set up our Halloween breakfast bar. We served all the breakfast favourites whilst our families caught up with each other. We then ventured outside to take part in a spooky treasure hunt. The children had to find the letters around the garden and put them together to make a Halloween word and win their prize. At the end of our event everyone enjoyed carving their own pumpkins and playing ‘what’s in the box’.

November

To kick off the Christmas feeling we ran our first of two Christmas craft mornings. Rebecca Vaughan, a self taught artist helped run our session where we made Christmas ornaments with our own embroidery designs. The children also made their own  BSL Christmas crackers and cards to take home to their friends and family.

It was then time for our monthly visit to Bannerman road for one of our outreach projects. Here we welcomed families who live in and around the Easton area to join us for a stay and play session. We caught up with families, played games, told stories and sang some songs whilst signing along.

We then had our final session of our Family sign course. We met face to face at Elmfield school where Claire (our teacher), and our families shared their personal stories and experiences with each other. We looked back at the course and discussed what we had learned and enjoyed. We finished off with what became a slightly competitive game of BSL bingo.

FCDC had an exciting opportunity this year, we were invited to have our own stall at Bath Christmas Market. With the help of LetsSign, we put together some BSL themed Christmas treats, set them up in our FCDC stall. Myself and Helen spent the day meeting old and new faces, discussing all that we do here and spreading awareness.

At our AGM our families had the opportunity to find out what we have been up to the past year and hear about future plans. Its also a chance for our members to vote on important FCDC matters for the following year. At this AGM we were paid a visit from some scaly friends. Reptile encounters Bristol brought along animals for our families to meet and taught us all about what they eat, and where they live. For those who were brave enough they were even able to get a closer look and hold the reptiles.

We finished off November by visiting New Oriel Hall. Here we had our last Bath outreach project of the year.

December

December bought us lots of festive events and got us well and truly into the Christmas spirit. We started it off with the second Christmas workshop with Rebecca Vaughan. Our families had a go at making their very own Christmas sacks, learning all things embroidery. They also made Christmas cards and crackers too!

At our final Easton outreach session at bannerman road we had a ‘goodbye 2023 party’. Our families enjoyed some party food, the parents caught up whilst the children played together.

It then came the time of the year where we set up our Christmas tree in St Mary Redcliffe church for their annual Tree fest event. This event is an opportunity for charities and organisations around Bristol to set up their own Christmas tree (These come in all shapes and sizes, from your traditional Christmas tree to trees made out of medical equipment representing the NHS to trees made from recycled materials.)  Our tree represented ‘Bristol Deaf Children’. The Family Centre Deaf Children, Bristol Deaf Children’s Society, Little Hands, Elmfield School, Acorns & Sensory support. All working together to support d/Deaf children and their families.

Our parents/carers then took a trip to The Golden Hill Community Garden where they made their very own Christmas wreaths. Lucy guided us through as we used willow grown from the garden to weave into a hoop and fill with winter foliage.
Santa train.. A FCDC favourite, and for good reason… This year our families stepped aboard the Santa train and rode along the Avon valley railway. We stopped off and watched the engine change direction, then got back on it to ride back to the station. Whilst in their seats, our families enjoyed some mince pies/shortbread and greeted Father Christmas as he went around and asked all the children what they wanted for Christmas this year.

It was then time for our Jingle Bell Bash. We all gathered at Elmfield school where our families got stuck into Christmas crafts and a game of Christmas bingo. They enjoyed some Christmas lunch, along with festive treats and some hot chocolates. We then got a very special visit from Father Christmas and his elf, who to played a pass the parcel with us all and delivered presents to each of the children.

Last but not least we had our final event of the year! We took our KS3/4 group for a game of Christmas bowling. Helen impressed us all, taking the highest score of the day… Even without bumpers. The rest of the group made sure to let me know that I had finished at the very bottom of the leader board. We then headed over to TGI Fridays for some food and drinks where we handed the young people their Christmas presents, which included their very own photo album from their weekend away in October.

End of an amazing year

And that’s that! The final events of what has been an incredible year here at FCDC. From all of us, we’d like to say a massive thank you to all of our families, volunteers and to our funders for the continued support. We cannot wait to show you what we have in store for 2024!

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