PiP Cafe

The Talk About Trust Community Outreach through Pavilion in The Park April 2023 – April 2024

The Community Room

March 2024 marked the 3rd anniversary of Pavilion in The Park community Hub and café being opened by The Talk About Trust Charity, providing a meeting room, public loos, office for the charity and a revenue generating café providing homemade and local good value food and drinks. We also host a community book swap, host monthly supper clubs over the Winter and have local art work for sale.

PiPs community room is now well established at the heart of the Poundbury community, hosting weekly meetings for Home Educators, The NHS midwife, Dorset deaf activities group and Poundbury chess club. We host monthly senior socials, an after school art club, school holiday clubs and teen hang out days as well as community events for Halloween, Easter, Christmas and live Music in the Park. The Park run operates from PiP on a Saturday and a Junior Park Run on Sunday as well as mini athletics. It is a place to meet friends or colleagues, enjoy family gatherings, hold business and charity meetings and is firmly recognised for being a calm area for children’s clubs, events and for the community to use.

We treasure hosting The People Need Nature group, who hold several weekly meetings and activities for social prescribing such as Mindfulness, Yin Yoga, Tai Chi, singing, poetry, knitting, foraging and art activities from PiP. Other regular bookings include a Carers Support group a Prostate Cancer support group and a meeting space for TADDS (Teaching Alliance of Dorset Special Schools) and the retired Magistrates. In between all the more formal meetings we still enjoy assisting and welcoming our local community people for birthday parties, social gatherings, baby showers and much more!

Our community outreach
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After School Art Club

We work closely with Damers School staff to provide a free After School Art Club which runs every 2 weeks throughout term time. The sessions run for an hour for children aged 5-10 years and a parent/carer and we are seeing more children from other schools attend. Led by a teacher and parent liaison leader, with help from enthusiastic volunteers, families are encouraged to spend time together and have fun whilst engaging in art-based activities. We are very lucky that the sessions continue to be sponsored by Art in Poundbury and Parkers Estate Agents.

Senior Social - held 2nd Thursday of the month

These sessions are well attended offering an opportunity for older people 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. In order to keep running this free event for our local community we require additional funding to ensure that guests can have access to free hot drinks and cake so that coming to a café to be sociable is not hindered by financial restraints.


This outreach project ran until December 2023 and we are actively looking for additional funding in order to run more sessions as it provides such a calm and inspiring activity. Debbie and her Creative Clay group provide a diversionary activity for parents, carers and seniors who enjoy coming together to share a common goal and get creative with clay.  They have made some fabulous items which were displayed in the community room for everyone to enjoy and participants remarked that “these sessions were relaxing, calming and great for meeting new people” and “Creative Clay really helped with my confidence, talking and meeting new people”.


Coffee and Computers

This initiative was funded until December 2023 and gave a monthly home to Dorchester IT who were on hand to help with any digital questions and queries; people brought their own phones or tablets and could get expert help on the things that would make a difference to their lives.  This proved to be a popular and worthwhile initiative and we are actively looking for more funding to enable more members of the community to receive help and advice with anything IT related.

Teenage Hang out day April 23 – next date 7th August 2024

The weather stayed on our side, and we were able to host in partnership with Dorchester Town Council a Holiday hangout day for 11 – 14 year olds.  Over 120 young people booked for this free event on the Great Field.  We provided a hot meal to all the children registered with free school meals and offered a BBQ style lunch.  With lots of activities like festival style arts and crafts, henna tattoos, workshops on how to make stage make up wounds, as well as football, sumo suits and light up inflatables, lots of fun was had by in the end, over 150 children. Working with Dorset CC we are also looking for sponsorship and funding in order to run this event in August 2024 and keep it free for the local community. The cost of hosting the whole day is over £2,000 ( under £10 per child).

Music at the Pavilion /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 Nick Capaldi.


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 Nick Capaldi.

Damers Christmas Lunch for the most vulnerable Poundbury families

Working in collaboration with Sandra Scott from Damers School who looks after vulnerable families, we organised a festive afternoon for families who may not be able to enjoy a Christmas lunch together and give them a joyful Christmas experience.  Sandra identified families which would benefit from this, invited them to join us on December 18th and ensured that each family would feel comfortable with who they were sat with. PiPs welcomed 33 guests from Damers School and this was very kindly funded by The Rotary Club.

Families enjoyed a delicious turkey lunch with all the trimmings and some festive puddings too! The highlight of the event was seeing the children’s faces when they spotted a bearded man in red clothes coming towards Pips… Father Christmas kindly dropped in with a special gift for each child and he spent time chatting with the children, listening to their Christmas jokes from their crackers and having a good chuckle!

Summer, Christmas & Easter HAF Clubs

During the Summer, Christmas and Easter Holidays we work with Dorset CC Holiday Activities & Food Scheme which allowed us to put on vital and enriching holiday club for families which have a HAF voucher code. These are families who receive hot school meals at school and are automatically given a code which they can use at any club which is funded by the scheme.


We are very lucky to have staff from Damers school and a team of volunteers who not only help ensure the families who need support attend, but who also plan, provide resources and take care of the children on the day.  The objective of the club is to provide a safe and engaging place for the most disadvantage children in our locality during the holidays, ensuring they are well fed (hot lunch provided every day), and engaged with fun activities and play.  In the summer, we offered 22 places to allow for no shows with 20 real places being available in each session.  All sessions were fully booked.  This summer we were able to offer a forest school day at Prince of Wales School with the children enjoy all kinds of outdoor learning and fun.

We were able to support children attending from Damers First School, Manor Park First, Dorchester Middle, St Mary’s Catholic School, St. Osmunds Middle and Greenford Primary.  The children had so much fun with activities such as finger painting, a scavenger hunt outside, making Easter cards and creating some yummy chocolate nests too. We were also very kindly supported by our local supermarkets Dorchester Tescos & Co-op and Weymouth Asda who supplied us with craft & food items and a chocolate Easter bunny to take home. We are actively seeking funding to enrich our offer for local children most in need.

Easter Event 2024

Our Easter Event this year centred around Easter Monday having arranged a collaboration with Discover Dorchester and their Big Easter Egg Roll on The Great Field. From 10am families were greeted at PiPs by the Easter Bunny who enjoyed waving and giving high-fives to all the children – some accompanying dogs were intrigued by our bunny too!


In the Community Room, children used their excellent imaginations to decorate boiled eggs using paints, pens and stickers etc ready for the big Easter Egg Roll on the Great Field. Some families had already been busy creating their own designs at home but were also able to come and complete our Easter Trail, indulge in some delicious Easter treats at the café and let the children relax with some easter colouring. Just before 11am the Mayor visited the Community Room where the children showed off their creations ready for his inspection at the Easter Egg Roll – he was very impressed with the efforts in which the children and their families had put in! The Easter Egg Roll was a great success and we were so pleased to be able to work with Matilda at Discover Dorchester to put on a free event; Matilda said “Thank you so much for a brilliant day! So many brilliant eggs came over to the egg rolling! “.


The total cost of providing community outreach across the year at PP;s with a part time community Engagement manager, is £9,000 per annum. Our outreach would not be possible without our trusty Club Leaders and committed volunteers – who have limitless energy and passion for helping our community – PiPs has been able to continue to improve our outreach programme and community events. Our objective is to grow, be even more visible and supportive throughout the next year, thus welcoming more people into our ever-increasing community at PiPs. The calendar for bookings in the Community Room has very few days in which it isn’t used; we would like to build on existing relationships we have and also look for new initiatives and funding which can provide support and improvements to our local community.

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.