The Wokingham Paper

Yeldall Manor to take its annual open day online as supporters raise more than £20,000

Strawberries and cream
You'll have to bring your own strawberries and cream to Yeldall Manor's virtual open day this year Picture: Phil Creighton

IT’S THE highlight of the year for many and, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, not even the coronavirus can stop it.

Yeldall Manor, an addiction rehabilitation centre for men, is still planning on holding its annual open day on Saturday, July 4 – but it won’t be open to the public.

Instead of the traditional hog roast and the chance to enjoy live music, strawberries and cream, it’s going online.

The Hare Hatch charity has continued to operate reasonably normally throughout the pandemic, accepting residential guests for its Christian-based programme that helps men who have problems with alcohol and drugs.

While the volunteering outside of the manor house has been curtailed, other activities have taken its place.

Fundraising manager Sue Hedger explained: “We’ve stayed open and have been taking on new residents safely as we can.

“The need (for our work) is just as great as ever, if not more as community services can’t do what they usually do during the pandemic.

“The programme has altered slightly, but we have a large house and grounds, which have been really good.

“The residents have had more spare time. They’ve made an old swimming pool into a prayer garden and they’ve been able to enjoy more creative pastimes.”

And there have been modifications to the site, with one-way systems in place, minimising contact and visitors.

This has meant the site has stayed free of the virus.

The centre has seen some of its residents have to stay on for longer, rather than moving on to the next stages in the recovery programme.

“Some have been able to move back in with families and friends, others are waiting until it’s safer to do so,” Mrs Hedger said.

The open day normally attracts hundreds of visitors and is a chance for them to meet residents, play games, buy items from Chissock Woodcraft – one of the recovery programmes on site.

Instead, the event will be streamed via its Facebook page and feature Christian songs, some testimonies from the residents and an update on Yeldall’s work throughout the year.

The event usually raises thousands for the charity, so it is asking for people to make a donation towards its bursary fund. This helps pay the costs of people who would otherwise not be able to afford the recovery programme.

A recent fundraiser, stRIDE for Recovery, was held virtually earlier this month and saw 60 people travel 3,300 virtual miles, raising more than £20,500 for this work.

“It’s excellent,” Mrs Hedger said. “We had teams cycling from Woodley to the Hebrides, some residents did a virtual marathon, then went from London to Paris. Another did a sponsored hack.

“All ages and abilities were able to participate.”

 To tune into the online open day on Saturday, July 4, visit www.facebook.com/Yeldall

To donate, log on to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/yeldallopenday

Esthertime helpline launches

Yeldall has also launched a new helpline aimed at women who are worried about their alcohol usage.

Many of use have been drinking more during lockdown, and some may feel that their intake is getting out of hand.

The Esthertime Helpline is available from 9am to 5pm on weekdays. To take part, call 0118 940 4411 and ask to speak to Mandy.

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