READING RETIREMENT CENTRE    (registered charity No. 281830)


(Friends in retirement taking relaxation, exercise and education)


October 2017                        Firtree Newsletter                    Issue 466

Welcome to this special edition of the Firtree Newsletter    


Many of you will possibly be reading this newsletter for the first time, either as a member of the Carers Hub or as visitors to the Older People’s Open Day at Rivermead on the 9th October. As you will see this is issue 466 which shows we have been around a long time and many people have enjoyed each other’s company over the years. We are a self-financing and self-run club for those who are retired or part retired and we aim to provide company and activity for those who are seeking a new outlet. There is no need to be lonely.


Yes it does cost money, £30 a year with free access to our activities (there is extra where we pay for outside help) but at this time of the year our cost is down to £20 for up to April 2018. If you are a carer and are escorting someone who could benefit from our activities there is no charge for the carer. We consider ourselves to be friendly to all conditions and all people.


At present we meet on Monday and Tuesday at the Latter-day Saint (Mormon) Chapel (at the junction of the Meadway and Church End Lane) and on Wednesdays at the YMCA (Parkside Road). Both are easily accessible by the 33 bus and both have good parking facilities. The YMCA has a Café which is open for lunches.


Each year we have a general meeting where members are elected to serve on the managing committee. We have no paid staff so there is opportunity for helping to keep Firtree serving our membership, which is drawn from all over Reading and currently stands at about 110.


So what do we do? On Monday at the Chapel we have a bridge group in the morning and once a month our garden circle is out on visits especially if there is a nice tea room handy. It is also the day our committee meets once a month.


Tuesday is a busy day at the Chapel with time to sit and chat before listening or watching a talk of interest. It is surprising how fascinating some of our speakers have been. Over lunch we play scrabble or bridge and in the afternoon we have table tennis. The chapel is an amazingly good venue and we are very blessed by being able to use it.


Wednesday and we meet at the YMCA for movement to music in the morning and after a break our songsters practise their repertoire. The afternoon varies with whist twice a month and craft work once (moving to the Chapel next month). In the afternoon there is a dancing group at the Chapel which we support.


On Thursday morning in the Summer we play bowls at Prospect Park (this moves into Rivermead on Fridays in the winter)

Our outings vary – we had fifty on a coach trip to Longleat recently and we holiday in May for a week, always with a number of outings included, and recently we have run a winter trip for Turkey and Tinsel (Eastbourne this year and also with outings included). All great fun.


Come and check us out at  our Open afternoon (1.00 to 3.30 soft drinks and cake included) on Tuesday the 24th October, bring a friend, the more the merrier. We like to enjoy life and look to care about each other and to make new members welcome. If you want to know more :-

contact Colin Ferguson ( or Mark Bowman (0118 967 7130)


It’s going to be a busy month for Firtree with our open day on the 24th but normal life goes on as well. Hopefully you have this on or by the 3rd October and have discovered that Mark is running a quiz. Other Tuesdays


10th October       What goes on in the men’s shed – Tony tells all (maybe not ‘all’)


17th October        Jaye Windmill returns with tales from the Trojan Wars


24th October         Open day


31st October          Michael Arris introduces us to Stratfield Saye House and Wellington


7th November         Mark is running another quiz while many of us are sunning ourselves in Eastbourne


Talking of Eastbourne the coach will leave the YMCA  at 9.30 a.m. on Monday 6th November (did I say sunning? Better include some woollies)


All our normal activities are in full swing though the craft group are moving to the chapel next month and the songsters will be busy with singing at the Older People’s Day at Rivermead on Monday 9th October as well as performing at our own Open Day.


The event on Monday 9th is open to all and has many stalls relevant to older people. It begins at 1.00 with our songsters to open the entertainment. Please contact Liz Prior if you can help with looking after our stall. There is a free bus running, from Sainsbury’s to Rivermead, every half hour (15 and 45). Parking is free but do let the reception know if your car is there for security reasons.


Looking ahead to the May holiday we offer a choice of Swansea, with trips to Tenby and the Mumbles or East Lancashire with trips to the Lake District, canal boat and the Pennines. Let Gloria know your preference. We can of course do the other one the following year.


Welcome to the new Chief Executive at the YMCA, Arlene Kersley. Their AGM is on the 18th October at 7.00 p.m. If you would like to attend please let reception or Maureen know as she needs to plan ahead for refreshments.


Bowls have now moved into the Rivermead on Friday mornings from 9.00. With an over 50’s card it will cost just over £4 for two hours play. You don’t need to be as strong for this and there is a tea break (50p). It is great fun as long as you don’t take yourself too seriously!!


OPEN DAY PROGRAMME (Tuesday 24th October from 1.00 to 3.30 (tidy up time))


  • Opening in the chapel by the Mayor of Reading, Rose Williams followed by a performance by our Songsters.

1.45    Display by the Movement to music group in the hall


There will be tables around the area showing different aspects of our work from 1.30, tables in the meeting room for scrabble, whist and bridge, a table tennis table up in the hall, display of crafts, power point showing outings and holidays and of course the tables for food. This time we are providing soft drinks and cakes. Liz is co-ordinating the cakes with help. At 2.00 – 2.15 we have a special cake to be cut and hopefully the Mayor may still be around to help but she does have a later appointment as well. Finally at about 3.00 we hope to have some dancing to take us up to 3.30. If anyone has another bright idea do let someone on the committee know.


Among our contacts this last month have been the Carers Hub and the activities co-ordinator for some of the local retirement blocks. It would be good if we can work out how some of them can come to what we do or if we can do something to go to them? This could become a full-time job!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.