Beauty pageant winner and care support worker, Jodie Parry, has performed the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon at the opening of the annual Christmas fayre at specialist care village, Belong Atherton.
The fayre, organised by staff at Belong, was open to residents at the village and members of the local community. Jodie, 22, who successfully competed in the Miss United Kingdom Beauty pageant earlier this year, was invited to cut the ribbon in celebration of the opening of the fayre.
Since winning the Wigan-based pageant, Jodie has used her title to raise money and promote understanding of dementia, raising almost £4,000 for Alzheimer’s Society UK to date. Now a Support Worker at Belong Atherton, Jodie aims to continue fundraising and supporting those living with dementia.
Speaking of her time at Belong, Jodie commented: “Belong is much more than a job to me. My grandfather is living with Alzheimer’s, so it is an issue very close to my heart. It is very rewarding knowing that, at Belong, I am making a difference to the lives of others who are living with dementia and I am giving something back to people who have given so much throughout their lives. The fayre is just one example of the ways that Belong staff help to promote an active and happy lifestyle, and I was so happy to be a part of it.”
Visitors to the fayre were greeted by a range of stalls run by Belong staff and members of the community offering confectionery, crafts and knitting equipment, jewellery and ornaments. There were also opportunities to enter prize draw raffles and purchase hampers, and visitors could get a head start on their Christmas shopping with a selection of dedicated Christmas cards and gift stalls.
Experience Co-ordinator at Belong Atherton, Gemma Willetts, commented: “We run the fayres twice a year, and the one we run at Christmas is always very popular. The fayres are something to look forward to, but they are also an opportunity for our customers to play a part in the organisation and running of the day, too. They can be as involved as they want to be, whether that’s simply having a look around the stalls or helping to run one.”
The village library was also transformed into Santa’s Grotto for the day and was open to the children in the local community, who were able to visit Santa in his grotto and receive a selection box from the village. The fayre raised over £700 on the day, which will be split between a charity chosen by the apartment tenants and the village fund for residents’ activities and resources.
Gemma added: “The fayres are a great opportunity for our customers to get involved with the local community, which we really encourage. Everybody is welcome at Belong, and we hope that the Christmas fayre has opened doors to those in the community to come to visit Belong more often. The residents really enjoyed the day and the atmosphere in the village was fantastic.”