PERCIVAL Guildhouse kept the Platinum Jubilee spirit alive a little longer by welcoming scores of students, supporters and volunteers to a post-Bank Holiday party at their Rugby home.
Cakes were bought and tea pots commandeered to keep refreshments flowing for the 120 or so guests at the St Matthew’s Street centre.
The event was made possible by a Warwickshire County Council Microfund grant aimed at tackling loneliness.
The Guildhouse, Warwickshire’s only independent adult education centre, was hard hit by pandemic lockdowns and uncertainty.
But thanks to the generous support of other charities such as Rugby Group Benevolent Fund, Garfield Weston and Westham House Fund, plus the loyalty of its students, the Guildhouse has survived the trials of the past two years.
The Platinum Jubilee Party was a way of saying thank you and, taking place in National Volunteers Week, it enabled the Guildhouse to acknowledge the role volunteers play in supporting the small staff team who organise more than 90 different arts and craft day and evening classes, summer schools and day schools each term.
Centre manager Sarah Gall said: “We were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm with which people accepted invitations to the party. It showed just how much people wanted to meet again.
“The same joy at being together has been demonstrated by the keenness with which students have returned to classes in-house. Online lessons kept us in touch but the strength of our community lies in being together. Lifelong friendships are formed here relieving the loneliness and isolation which many would experience otherwise.”
And chair of trustees Carin Jackson added: “Without such dedicated staff, volunteers, loyal students and grant support, The Percival Guildhouse would have struggled to survive the pandemic.
“The vital role in the community using tutor-led adult education to bring people together is recognised. We are definitely not out of the woods yet; student numbers need to return to pre-pandemic levels but with such support we’re determined to get there.”