College Street, Petersfield, Hampshire, GU31 4AG Sunday 11am

Holiday at Home

      Holiday at Home 2017

We decided to run Holiday at Home in 2016 to provide a holiday experience for older people in our community who were unable to get away for an annual summer break.  Many of the regular organised social activities that older people enjoy so much are suspended for the month of August; it can feel rather like everyone else is on holiday so it felt right to run Holiday at Home in August.  We also saw it as an opportunity to raise awareness of our church, and encourage wider participation in our church activities and services.

So Petersfield United Reformed Church’s first ever Holiday at Home took place in August 2016, but planning started in February.  There was a timetable of events to work out, a volunteer rota to prepare, speakers to book, a realistic budget to be determined, and all the important administrative tasks such as risk assessments, insurance, etc had to be considered.

This was a four day holiday event, including a full day’s outing.  People could opt out of the outing if they wished, but they booked to attend all three church based days.  We decided to do it this way to encourage a sense of continuity, and promote opportunities for people to form friendships over the course of the holiday.  By the beginning of August all 12 places were booked. The event was very well supported by volunteers from within the church, who did everything from cooking, driving, planning all the entertainment and activities, and helping participants make the most of their holiday experience. In fact, more than a third of church members actively contributed to Holiday at Home, and many more supported the project in other ways, so it really felt that as if the whole church was behind us

Even though I was confident that that everything was in place, I was still a little concerned on that first morning. Would anyone turn up? Would they enjoy themselves?  I needn’t have worried; the Holiday at Home was a big success. We set up separate areas in Church Family Centre (CFC) for arts and crafts, games, and a massage ‘spa’ room.  There was a quiet area for simply sitting and reading, and of course a lovely church garden where anyone could sit and enjoy the beautiful sunny weather that we were blessed with all week.

We started each day of the holiday with a very short church service before moving into the CFC for coffee.  After that people were free to participate as they chose. It was so lovely to see people laughing, chatting, enjoying the various activities and getting to know each other.  We all ate lunch together before settling down to enjoy the afternoon entertainment which was different every day, ranging from guest speakers to musical entertainment.

One day we had full day’s outing on a chartered canal boat from Chichester.  Bedales School kindly loaned their minibus and on the hottest day of the year we made our way to Chichester Canal Centre .We kept relatively cool in the shade of the boat on a 2 hour cruise, and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the waterways, gazing at the beautiful scenery and wildlife as we slowly chugged along. The canal boat was easily accessible to wheelchair users or those of limited mobility, so everyone was able to enjoy this day.

Based on the success of this event, we have decided to offer Holiday at Home August 2017.  This time it will be run over three days on Monday 21st, Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd August, and there are 20 places available.  Programme details and charges have not yet been finalised, but if you would like to register your interest please contact Julie on 01730 266475 or e mail

Please see Programme and Information Sheet below –

Info sheet

Julie Pejnovic

Development worker for older people