Saturday afternoon was one the highlights of my year so far, welcoming parties of Ukrainian guests and their host families into the Guildhall, sharing tea and cake, tours round the building and the opportunity to chat, ask questions and meet new friends. So many are doing so much, in hosting, in providing community services, in assisting people who had to leave their homeland, that this simple afternoon was the least we could do to brighten their lives.
From feedback and enthusiasm, it clearly did. But it also opened up conversations and links that hopefully go some way to make their stay easier and more bearable. The smiles, from an elderly woman to a toddler were immeasurable.
I had a couple of gentle planning meetings this week, firstly with my running adviser for the 10k Run – you heard it here first! Look out on Just Giving pages for the team running in aid of my charities. Secondly, with one of those charities, Severn Arts, to discuss more events over the year.
While on the art theme, we launched this year’s Open Studios which starts on 20 August. Begun a few years ago in the city, the free art exhibition where artists throw open their studio doors to the general public has now expanded across the county and is a great draw (oops!). There’s bound to be one near you so pop in.
Then we went to the opening of the Snoezelen art auction where local artists and users of the sensory centre for people with disabilities have donated pictures for an auction to raise money for the organisation. This is their 30th anniversary so it would be great to be able to support their fundraising efforts if you can.
And then, when the cupboard was looking bare, I popped up to the new Lidl store to officially open its doors and do a bit of early morning shopping. (Other supermarkets are available).