On a frosty but beautiful winter's day, dozens of CMPP volunteers gathered at Frimhurst Family House to get stuck in to the tough job of clearing leaves from the extensive nine acres of ground by the side of the Basingstoke Canal, laying a gravel pathway and insulating a new wooden cabin. Yes, the annual 'Festive Frimhurst' event, which for so many truly marks the start of the Christmas season, was underway.
Project manager, Rachel Austen, explains: 'Frimhurst is a unique place, providing vulnerable families with respite from poverty, discrimination and social exclusion. It's a safe environment
which helps so many people build confidence, make new friends, learn new skills and create happy memories.
The grounds are massive, filled with wonderful trees but of course where
there's trees, there are leaves - millions of leaves! If they are just left, the grounds get affected and can't be used by the families. So, the job of our incredible army of volunteers is to clear them, especially from the road up to the house.'
This, the third year CMPP has organised this event, attracted the help of more volunteers than ever before - well over a hundred willing supporters, representing 17 companies, joined together in their Xmas jumpers, rakes, brooms and shovels in hand, all set to do whatever was needed.
Fortified by Christmas songs, mulled wine and cider (courtesy of CMPP member, Asahi) and piping hot mince pies, this was a truly heart-warming, feel good event that really sparked the beginning of the season.
Frimhurst manager, Murielle Double, was delighted by the outcome of the day: 'It's incredible! This means so much to us; there's no way we could possibly have accomplished all this, certainly not in a single day. We are such a small team and having all these volunteers here means we can focus on supporting the families instead of having to maintain the grounds ourselves. Thanks to all of you!'
James Lewis of CleanKing, added: 'It's great to be part of such a wonderful event, giving up a day for such a worthwhile charity. Hard work but such fun and really rewarding at the end of the day. We'll certainly be back next year!'
Festive Frimhurst will take place again in December 2023 so look out for details on the CMPP website to see how you can get involved and make a difference locally.