The Wilton Centre’s busy year of supporting its local community has culminated in a Christmas market to raise funds and support for the residents of the Marske Hall care home.
Over the last 12 months the Centre has organised a wheelchair basketball demonstration to publicise the work of Stokesley’s JPC Community Farm. It has welcomed female students from schools in Marske and Stockton to learn more about careers in science, whilst its long-running partnership with Zoe’s Place – the baby hospice in Normanby – continues to generate donations.
More than 20 local traders were invited to take part in the festive market, attracting hundreds of people who work for the Centre’s occupiers. They were able to buy tasty treats from a range of food drink sellers – including Clucking Pig gourmet Scotch eggs and Jamie’s Cakes and Bakes from Redcar – and buy engraved Christmas gifts from The Orch-shed and presents from Geoff Crust Furniture, also both from Redcar. Traders and shoppers were entertained by the fantastic Dalesman Singers who ran through their Yuletide repertoire in preparation for a hectic December.
Ruth Hebden, Marske Hall’s Activity Co-ordinator, said residents – adults who have physical and learning disabilities – had decided to use money raised from the market to make Christmas extra special in the home by putting on additional activities and buying presents for fellow residents who might otherwise not receive any.
Crucially – because of the Wilton Centre’s support – she said there also will be a greater awareness of Marske Hall, which provides permanent and respite care for up to 30 people.
“Everybody’s got a little less money and so there’s not as money to give, but events like this are as important to us as donations,” said Ruth.
Making new connections
“We need to re-connect with the outside because during COVID we weren’t seen,” said Ruth. “Life has moved on and people have moved on. We want to let people we knew before know we’re still here – and it’s also about making new connections.”
That could be people helping residents tend Marske Hall’s garden or entertaining the residents, rather than giving money. “They can come and connect with our residents, who love seeing new people. For some of them, we are their family. So the more people who come in, the bigger their family becomes.”
Leasing and Assistant Asset Manager Claire Morton said the Wilton Centre will continue to support its community: “We’re such a focal point for the area and the number of people who live locally and work here is rising all time.”
Claire also praised the work of her colleague Lesley Lince, the Guest Experience Host, who has been at the forefront of organising all of this year’s events. “She has fantastic local contacts, great organisational skills and – probably most important of all – she really cares.”