A star-studded event celebrates all that’s good about families – and you can be part of it when it comes to Reading on Saturday, November 23. Phil Creighton explains
THERE’S no one quite like Grandma. Or Grandad for that matter. And now, grandparents from across the country will be celebrated at a star-studded award ceremony which is coming to Reading later this month.
Cardiff-based charity Care For The Family is this year celebrating its 25th anniversary – and the party is being held at The Hexagon theatre on Saturday, November 23.
Hosted by ex-Blue Peter and Sunday Hour presenter Diane Louise Jordan, music comes from acclaimed singer/songwriter Graham Kendrick and comedian Tim Vine, who stars in Not Going Out, will be presenting the very special awards.
The charity’s UK director Katharine Hill will share some of her insights into family life in a session dubbed Lessons I’d Wish I’d Learnt Earlier.
And if that’s not enough, Care For The Family founders Rob and Dianne Parsons will go down memory lane with a nostalgic look back at the first 25 years of the charity.
Care For The Family was launched back in 1988 – Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister, the Beano cost 20p and Bros was the boy band of the day. It was the time when Harry Enfield’s character Loadsamoney (catchphrase Bosh, bosh, bosh, look at my wad, loadsamoney) epitomised the me-first culture in the age of the Big Boom, Thatcherism and Yuppies.
It was before the fall of Communism and the Berlin Wall – but the year of house price rises of 16.9%. If you had a mobile phone, it was the size of a brick and weighed 4kg.
You were more likely to have an electronic typewriter than a PC – and if you did buy one, you’d be looking at spending £3,000 (about £7,000 in today’s money).
It’s fair to say that times have changed – but Care For The Family’s mission has remained the same.
Rob launched the charity in 1988, leaving his job as a senior partner in a successful law practice to set up the family charity from a small office in a room at the back of a hairdresser’s in Cardiff. The first initiative in those early days was a series of marriage seminars.
Drawing from his own experiences of family life, and often joined by his wife Dianne, the events were the first of their kind and were immensely popular, encouraging and strengthening hundreds of couples. Now, a quarter of a century later, Care for the Family has become a national family charity running events and courses across the UK, and creating resources that are used all over the world.
Thanks to its strong team of 80, it runs courses and training in everything from drug proofing your children to being the best possible Mum or Dad you can be. These can be training events, celebratory gathering or even books and online resources – and they’re all accessible, friendly and based on real-life, devised by people who have been there, got the T-shirt and want to help.
It is currently running Mum’s The Word, an evening of encouragement, insight and inspiration for all Mums, including practical tips and real-life stories.
To help cope with the death of a loved one, Care For The Family also runs special events for bereaved parents and widows. They are designed to help you cope and meet with others who understand the heartache you are going through.
And with families very much in mind, Care For The Family organises holidays for single parents and also the 1-2-1 Challenge, exciting activities such as high ropes, bushcraft or canoeing that will build bonds between child and parent.
Add in marriage support sessions and you’ve got a great resource that every family should cherish. No wonder it’s celebrating its silver anniversary.
Rob said: “It’s our 25th anniversary and on November 23rd, we’ll be holding a very special evening to celebrate. We call it We Give Thanks.
“And as the evening comes to and end, I get to share my heart and vision for the future of this ministry. I honestly believe it will inspire and motivate us to work in our families and communities to make a difference together.
“Do join us if you can. A similar event earlier this year sold out in two weeks. I look forward to seeing you there.”
The We Give Thanks event on Saturday, November 23 will see 900 people come together to celebrate all this work – and to look to the future.
It starts at 5.30pm with a chance to enjoy some pre-show coffee and anniversary cake in The Hexagon’s foyer (be quick, they’ll stop serving at 6.15pm).
Then, at 7pm, popular TV and radio presenter Diane Louise Jordan will announce the celebration open and act as MC for the evening. Graham Kendrick and his band will lead some singing, including his new song Give Me This Mountain, before Tim Vine presents the special awards
to the winners of Care For The Family’s nationwide competition to find the UK’s most inspirational grandparents in the Supergrandparent Awards.
The awards are designed to tell the world just how much you love your grandparents and why they are so special. Nominees shared about the role their grandparents played in their family life, including their unconditional love and support, wisdom and kindness.
The award winners have been carefully chosen and the top grandparent on the night will enjoy a special celebration tea and a family portrait.
Runners-up will be able to share, as a family, a Hotel Chocolat hamper and all winners will receive a signed set of the popular Sixty Minute books written by Rob Parsons.
Care For The Family will also have a temporary shop set up in The Hexagon, so you can tap into its resources to help you be the best family you can possibly be.
It promises to be an evening of inspiration, laughter and thanksgiving – and a night to remember.
Rob added: “I really hope you can make it.”
Tickets cost £10 in advance, for groups of two to four people, £9 in advance and five or more £8 in advance. All tickets are £11 on the night, if there are any left. To book or for more details, call 029 2081 0800, send an email or log on to www.careforthefamily.org.uk/wgt.