Andover Events Community Local News Reviews

Family fun day proves very popular

Written by Carole Payne

On Sunday 1 August a Family Fun Day was held at the Phoenix Centre in Andover. It was organised by Hampshire Council Council and showcased some  services which are available across the area they represent.

Love Andover’s radio presenter Chris Burford was the host for the day providing great music and chat, and team members Sarah, Kevin, Carole , Brian and Ellie were all on hand supporting and promoting Love Andover.

The event was completely free of charge but  had to be booked in advance.. On entry each child received a passport for ten activities which was stamped each time the child took part in an activity.

These activities were varied and included clay making, circus skills, farm animals, computer explorers, hula hooping, yoga ,First Aid, badge making,  crystal jewellery making, Stitching, Smoothie Bites and rugby. Something to suit all tastes and ages

Most of these exhibitors come under the umbrella of Connect4Summer. They travel all over Hampshire into schools, (and nursing homes if required) and  doing fundays all over the county – such as this one.

All of the  activities were very popular especially Miniature Mayhem/ Mucky Bucket Farm ( fantastic name!! ) from near Fareham in Hampshire. They are a small farm who go out into schools, special needs groups, nursing homes or anywhere that is suitable to take the animals . They brought two alpacas, ,ducks,  chicks, guinea pigs, pigmy goats and, a donkey . The children and adults were invited into the pens to groom and stroke the animals which delighted them all. The farm has been going for about seven and a half years.

Juggling Jakes Circus workshops from Poole offered the crowd to join in with Diablo spinning, plate spinning, flower sticks, hula hoops, Poi spinning and juggling.

Adults and children alike could also join in with Mrs B’s Hoola Skoola  from Romsey. She had numerous hoops in all different sizes for people to try what might have been a new skill for them. Fabulous exercising activity for any age. I couldn’t resist and actually did 4 circles before the hoop fell to the ground- beating my all-time record of 3!!

Mrs B’s Hula Skoola hold workshops and hoop dance classes. You can find her on Google for venues and dates.

Dallagrio Rugby Works is a National charity founded in 2009. Its aim is to help youngsters who have had troubled childhoods to turn their lives around using rugby as an incentive.  The training teaches them discipline, teamwork and support in a no- pressure way . Alex a mentor for the charity told me  he mentors kids between the ages of 14 and 16. He goes into schools, youth venues and even young offenders hostels to try and encourage youngsters to join the workshops that Dallagrio offer them. They support the youngsters in any way they can. Have a look at their Facebook page for more info.

Another service on hand to give people information that may be beneficial to them was  RCS Community Pantry . This scheme is open to anybody , there are no restrictions and it operates in Romsey, Andover and Eastleigh . It provides food for ANYONE who may need a bit of support or help to cope with budgeting their money. To become a member you pay £5 each time you visit.(limited to one visit a week) and you are allowed to choose £15 worth of food. The food is fresh , frozen and tinned and ALL IN DATE. If you are interested in becoming a member or want to know more give them a ring on 01794. 522106 or email The Pantry is situated at The Longmeadow Centre on Cricketers Way in Andover and is open 9 30 am to 12 pm Mon,Tues, Thurs Fri and 4 – 6 pm on Weds.

Did you realise that many thousands of adults in the Uk cannot read or struggle with reading . ReadEasy are local community groups providing one-to-one  free reading coaching for adults. Our local group is based in Winchester but they are hoping to start a group for the Andover area if the need is here. You will be paired with a volunteer and work your way through workbooks AT YOUR OWN PACE. It is confidential and discreet so there is no need to feel embarrassed at all. Alison a 52 year old lady shared with me that when she first went to Read Easy her reading age was assessed as 3 years old. Now, five years later, she has the ability of an 8 year old and can read books, recipes, timetables etc for herself which gives her an enormous amount of enjoyment and pride. If you, or someone you know, would be interested in this completely FREE service contact : Pat Stephens on Tel.  07731 886036 or email: Or you can find them online at Reading sessions are 30 minutes long and are twice weekly.

A crucial lifesaving procedure ( CPR) was being demonstrated by two of Hampshire’s firefighters. They invited anyone who wanted a try on one of their practice dummies to have one,  skilfully guiding them through the procedure. A very important skill to possess and was practised by lots of adults and children.

While our fantastic host Andover Radio presenter Chris Burford was having a well earned short break from broadcasting in the now famous Love Andover  bright pink gazebo,  two teenage sisters entertained us with their amazing music. Veronica Pal is a very confident and talented 16 year old . She has just left school and is moving on to Peter Symonds college in September to study music  She has been playing the piano since the age of 3 and also plays acoustic and electric guitar.She has already released three singles which you can listen to on Amazon and Spotify. Titles are “Broken”  “I Loved You” and “ Since Day One” Veronica writes most of her own material. Her 15 year old sister Jess accompanies her on bass guitar for some tracks. They both have a great future ahead of them in the music industry.

Well Done to Hampshire County Council for organising a free fun filled day for local families and also for providing a lovely free lunch for everyone. Thanks also to all contributors and volunteers who made the day possible and to everyone who came along and supported the event.