Staff at Northdown Primary School had been checking the weather all week in anticipation of their long-awaited Community Day and they were not disappointed. Sunshine greeted the hundreds of families who turned out to see what the school and local community had to offer.
From a giant climbing wall, ride-on horses and reading campsite to individual activities in each classroom, a murmur of excitement filled the school corridors as pupils, parents and those new to the school explored the stalls and games.
As well as the school-led activities on offer, there were a host of stalls led by local businesses who had been given the chance to promote their wares free of charge. The candy floss served by Jumping Monkey was a big draw all day whilst Margate-based Lianne’s Sweets Treats provided a range of chocolate and sweet bouquets as well as baby nappy cakes for those wanting gifts for new parents.
Rebekah, Sharron and Jo from Turner Contemporary led art sessions where children and adults could work together on creative pieces while promoting the gallery’s free weekend family art sessions.
As families and shoppers browsed the stalls, they were treated to live music thanks to Ozzie and the Uglies, a Thanet-based special covers band who certainly got toes tapping. The band provided the perfect accompaniment to the sound of laughter and excitement from the nearby bouncy castle. Playing on the day were also musicians from Rock On! Music Academy which works out of Quex Park, Birchington, delivering one-to-one and full class tuition in local schools. Youngsters took it in turns to try out their drum skills.
Taking centre stage was a fantastic display from The Falcons kickboxing club whose centre at Hartsdown runs kickboxing and K1 clubs for ages three and up. Visitors to the fair tried out their kickboxing skills in the ring cheered on by their parents and friends. Focusing on football, Total Sports Coaching, who run after school clubs and sporting holiday camps for children, provided sporting entertainment for the children and adults at the fair as they tested how fast they could take a penalty accompanied by much cheering!
Local scout and guiding groups were also on hand to talk families through what they have to offer local youngsters. The 1st St Lawrence Scout group from Ramsgate ran an archery activity which challenged children and adults alike to test their aim. Catering for all children from age six to 14, the scout leaders keep themselves busy providing a wealth of experiences for local young people. Nestled in Northdown Primary’s forest school, the 3rd Margate St John’s Girlguiding group (which meets every Friday) showcased their outdoor skills with marshmallow tealight toasting.
Community support services were also in attendance to chat to families and explain the services they offer. Lyne (Senior Emotional Wellbeing Practitioner at NHS NELFT) was joined by Thanet Clinical Lead, Jenny, who works closely with Northdown school to support the emotional wellbeing of children and families.
There to talk through provision on offer at Millmead Children’s Centre was Amber. The centre in Dane Valley Road runs sensory groups, the “One You Hub” for mental health, midwifery and post-natal support as well as speech and language support for local families. Finishing off the support services section at the fair was Thanet Safe Haven from Mental Health Matters who offer a 24-hour helpline for people to access mental health support alongside art, board games and talking groups. For those looking for support with their health, the ladies from the local Slimming World were on hand to give advice and information about the group run at fellow TKAT school Drapers Mills Primary on Mondays and Wednesdays at 5.30pm and 7.30pm.
Jack Packman, Councillor for Dane Valley Ward and Northdown Chair of Governors, said: “It is brilliant to see the school at the heart of the community not just supporting the students but also supporting the families and the wider community. A big thank you to headteacher Matt Harris and the staff at the school for going above and beyond for their community.”
A big thank you from the school to the other local businesses who supported the Community Day:
Rainbow Sand Art Parties; Karen from Thanet Virtual High Street, an online business directory Facebook group for businesses; Broadstairs-based Be Inspired Bespoke gifts; and Charlotte from Board at Home in Ramsgate High Street. Also coming from Margate to set up were JJ & Roo Designs who offered personalised gifts to the shoppers and AJS Floristry with their Made by James range specialising in handmade resin ornaments, key rings and homemade candles.