PiP Cafe

PiPs community Outreach 2022

The Community Room

PiP’s community room is fulfilling its remit so well, with weekly sessions being hosted with The You Trust drop in service (Housing and Domestic Abuse support),  Midwife Healthcare appointments for the NHS each week and Home Start West Dorset Volunteer support and training.  We have continued to welcome social groups such as conversational French, Live Love Laugh ladies’ group and The Rock Choir. The space accommodates family parties and celebrations as well as art and craft groups including floral crown making and glass engraving and we continue to welcome the retired magistrates on a regular basis as well the Park Run Team every Saturday morning and the Junior Park Run on Sunday mornings.

Music at the Pavilion Apr/May/June/July/Aug/Sept​

Following on from the success of last year, we continued to host lunch time  free music with a difference.  Local musicians and singers perform and we invite anyone to come and enjoy a picnic on the Great Field and be entertained.  All the musicians perform for free.  Between 80 – 150 people of all ages attended each session, bringing picnic chairs and mats and enjoyed sharing lunch with friends and family. A wide range of talented musicians performed including Dr Jazz, Franz and Sophie, and the Puddletown ukulele group (PUG)

Easter Hunt on the Great Field

We provided a free, fun family event at Pips to encourage families to have fun together.

We created a set of clues that led to numerical answers around the Great Field, which unlocked a padlock to release the Easter Bunny.  We also created a simple find the letter and make the secret word for younger children.  The children then completed the hunt and claimed a free treat back in the community room.  A visit from the Easter Bunny was a big hit with the children!

We were prepared for approx. 150 children using Halloween as a bench mark and were stunned when over 200 children and families participated, highlighting the need for these free community events in the area.

We had 207 completed hunts, and many families did one between them, with multiple children. It was a sunny day and the families were all enjoying the space and using the outside area as well as some colouring and Easter card making in the community room.

HAF Children’s holiday Clubs

We ran Children’s holiday Clubs in, April, August & December.  Following the success of the summer kids clubs last year, we have expanded to offer further sessions in the school holidays.  Run by an experienced family worker, primary school teacher and supported brilliantly by 3 volunteers the sessions aim to provide a safe and engaging place for the most disadvantage children in our locality, during the holidays, ensuring they are well fed (with a hot lunch every day), and engaged with fun activities and play.  All the children that attended were part of the Summer in Dorset Scheme and required a passcode to qualify for the free place, ensuring that we reached the most in need families.  Places were offered to all schools in Dorset.   We offered 22 places to allow for no shows with 20 real places being available in each session.  Prior to the summer sessions beginning, of the 132 places we had filled 129.  We had 54 different children in total across the 6 sessions with some children opting to do all 6.  The children came from 11 different schools across the county.  This year we offered enriching activities including a Forest school session and a creative clay session, which the children enjoyed immensely.

What the parents said ….

“Really good club, lovely staff and daughter loved going”

“My son enjoyed it a lot, there was a variety of things for him to do. Thanks”

“Good club, very welcoming.”

“Great activities for all ages and lovely staff. My girls enjoyed the clubs and will be coming back again in the future”

Teenage Hang out day

Very sadly, due to extreme Summer heat, we had to postpone our teen hang out day which has 120 children booked in, now planned for April 2023!

Jubilee celebrations

PiP hosted its most ambitious community event to date in celebration of her Late Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in June. With children’s activities,  a special art exhibition and memories from local residents, a Jubilee display, best dressed dog competition, and a delicious tea so many braved the weather, dressing up and bringing picnics and good cheer!


Senior Social (2nd Thursday each month)

Our free Senior Social remains an integral part of the community outreach at PiPs.  Run by our fantastic volunteers Fiona and June each month we welcome our more senior members of the community to come for Free tea, coffee and cake, but more importantly some wonderful chat and a great deal of laughter.  These sessions are popular with between 10 – 16 people each month, offering an opportunity to interact and avoid loneliness and isolation.  We have been delighted to see AGE UK bringing people to the sessions and introducing them to the community at PiPs.

After School Art Club

We provide free fun art sessions for 5 – 10yr olds.  Stay and play sessions, for parents to engage with children and share in a common activity, promoting communication and time spent together having fun and engaging in art-based activities.  These are monthly ongoing sessions.  Sessions have included Vegetable printing, making finger puppets, quick dry clay animals and using ferns and natural resources for pictures.  We have 10 places for each session and they are always fully booked. 


 This new outreach began in September 2022 will run until Feb 2023.  We are offering diversionary activities for groups of adults.  These sessions are provided by Creative clay for all.  The sessions are designed to enable individuals experiencing difficulty to enjoy a social environment while learning and participating in a new skill.  All the sessions are nature based. These sessions have been open to vulnerable parents, unpaid carers and seniors.  Each session has 10 places, the feedback from the mums in the first group has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The sessions have helped me with confidence, talking and meeting new people”

Such lovely classes, made to feel comfortable”


Halloween Ghost Trial and family fun

During the Halloween weekend we hosted a free Halloween ghost trail, best costume and crafty fun afternoon at PiP with prizes for every child taking part. This was a hugely popular family event.

Damer’s Christmas Lunch

On Monday 19th December 2022, PiPs café hosted a special Christmas Lunch for vulnerable families from Damer’s First School.   Damer’s school has the highest number of Pupil premium children in the Dorchester area.  At over 25% they are well above the national average.  The day was planned to enable families that may not be able to enjoy a Christmas lunch together, to have a full Christmas meal experience, encouraging talking and eating together.  35 people in total (20 children, 15 adults) attended the lunch.

There was a wonderful atmosphere as families arrived, colouring and activities were on each table.  Lunch was served by our wonderful volunteers making sure that each family had a full Christmas meal with all the trimmings. 


Once all the plates had been cleared we had arranged for a visit from Father Christmas. The Lions Club had kindly donated a range of presents each carefully chosen for each child, wrapped and labelled.

Each child also received a party bag donated by Nature Art Kids and a handmade quilt from the Linus Project.


This event has helped improved community cohesion, and ensured that families facing significant financial hardship (especially at Christmas) were able to have a Christmas meal together.


“I just wanted to thank you for our wonderful Christmas dinner experience yesterday it was honestly such a wonderful, festive and beautiful experience and one that my body mind and soul needed, I have felt very flat, tired and run down after studying so much and then looking after a poorly E and B (and I then became poorly myself) it was such a nice and very unusual experience to be looked after and cooked for a few hours and the children had a wonderful time too, they were so thrilled to meet Father Christmas and had such fun playing with their presents and snuggling with their blankets when they got home”

Offering work placements and opportunity to vulnerable young adults at PiP

The AET work with Employ my Ability, Munsty’s, Kingston Maurward College, Whitehead Ross and the NHS as well as local residents to offer work and opportunity to vulnerable young adults and those with additional learning needs to help with their skills, training, self esteem confidence and independence. We currently have two wonderful placements with special needs and two NEET placements. It is hugely rewarding and you can follow Sara’s route to independence ( now catching two buses to get work) here: Futures Video – YouTube

Pavilion in the Park (PiP) and its community room are truly at the heart of the Poundbury community. In addition to the sample of events held detailed above, the building hosts a Winter monthly Supper club, a second hand book swap and champions art by under 25s and local residents. Thanks to the loos and facilities that PiP provides, the Great Field is able to offer a weekly Park run, fun days, sports and exercise classes and now hosts a defibrillator.

Plans for 2023
2023 plans include a free family Easter Fun Day, A coronation family fun day in partnership with The Lions Club of Dorchester on the 7th May, a joint Foster Carers fete, Digital help classes ( open to all) that will run monthly and began on the 22nd February. A teenage hang out day on the 4th April with children’s holiday clubs during that same week. Free lunchtime music at the Pavilion throughout the Summer months, our regular after school art club (parent and child), our monthly senior social coffee morning as well as regular events hosted by other charities including Home Start, The You Trust, The Chat Club and many more.

None of the above would be possible without financial support for us to employ a part time community engagement officer to manage and coordinate our volunteers and events which have become so important to the whole community of Dorchester.