Emmaus Hampshire at the IBM Big Picnic

Emmaus Hampshire has enjoyed the support of IBM Hursley since just before it opened, when its need for an IT infrastructure crystallised. No wonder then that the Community was keen to participate in the Big Picnic on June 18th that was one of IBM Hursley’s activities marking IBM’s centenary year.

Although there was a clash of dates with a Friends gathering at the Emmaus Hampshire Community, I took turns with two other Trustees and a Companion manning a stand throughout the  IBM event at Hursley House and Hursley Park.

Torrential rain on the Friday evening, nearly two inches in just a few hours, meant that the lawns behind Hursley House were simply too soggy for all the stands, and so a last minute change saw most of them set up in the West Car Park.  Saturday’s weather was far from kind, and despite our best efforts to anchor the gazebo, displays and the table top material we were fighting a constant battle with high winds and heavy showers.

In between times though, we were able to compare notes with fellow exhibitors such as the Salvation Army’s local Booth Centre, the RNLI, the Cats Protection League, Canine Partners and a host of others.  In the brief periods when the weather relented, we took the opportunity to tell visitors to our stand about the progress that the Community has made since it opened around two years ago.  Adam, the Companion helping out on the day, has been resident almost from the beginning and was able to answer all the questions that came up.  Although many people were already aware of the Community at Bar End, not everyone realised that we have 23 Companions living there, and that the business they run has been successful enough already to open a second shop, in the centre of Eastleigh.

My last two pictures show that, although there was a hive of activity indoors, the lawns that should have been a carpet of picnics surrounded by display tents were actually largely empty under the forbidding clouds.  Still, such a turn of events is hardly a surprise in an English midsummer, and everyone seemed still to be having a good time.

Our thanks are due to the good folk at IBM Hursley, and now we look forward with hopes of better weather at our next such outing, at Winchester’s famous annual Hat Fair on the 1st & 2nd July.  Perhaps we’ll see you there?

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