Community News – November and December

Churches Together Warm Spaces

As the financial difficulties of the cost-of-living crisis hit home, we would like to invite you to make use of our Warm Spaces listed below. With more to be announced in different venues over the coming weeks, these are places where you will receive a warm welcome in more ways than one. 

Open to all, come and have a cuppa on us and enjoy some company in a warm venue. Many Warm Spaces are offering free soup lunches and have various activities available, including jigsaws, crafts and games, as well as good conversation with our friendly volunteers. There’s no need to book, simply come along.

Warm Spaces that run over lunch times are providing food (usually soup and a roll).

For further information, call 07935 362281 or email: and visit:

The Dorian Singers

The Dorian Singers’ Christmas concert is rapidly approaching. They are performing a programme celebrating the joy of Christmas, under their new conductor, Brian Latchem.

The programme includes three carols written by Brian himself. The Gorseland Carol was written in 1980 and first performed at All Saints Church, Kesgrave. Since then, it’s been rearranged for mixed voices. The second carol, This Child of Joy, was written in 2019 and was inspired by a set of stamps for Islay in the Inner Hebrides. The third, A Christmas Blessing, was written for another local choir based in Ipswich and belongs to a choral work he wrote called An Abundance of Blessings, which was originally performed at Rushmere St Andrews Church. Again, Brian has revised the carol for the Dorian Singers. All three carols will be premiered at the concert in December.

The Dorian Singers’ concert, Christmas Joy, a Christmas Celebration, will be held at Trinity Methodist Church, Felixstowe IP11 7AN on Sunday 11 December at 3pm. Tickets cost £12 (£3 for under-18s) include seasonal refreshments and are available from The Card Centre, 6 Hamilton Road, Felixstowe IP11 7AU (01394 283170), from choir members or at the door. The concert is in aid of BASIC Life Charity.

Felixstowe Volunteer Centre to close its doors

Following a recent Trustees meeting it has sadly been decided to close and cease all the services previously offered by the Felixstowe Volunteer Centre (FVC). The charitable organisation has been operating since 1980, providing services to residents of Felixstowe and the surrounding area.

The Trustees, having voted to cease operations, have quoted the following reasons for their decision.

Following the austerity measures introduced some three years ago, the FVC lost its grant from the local authority. This caused great financial hardship for the organisation which without support from private individuals, local companies and other organisations would have closed the organisation even sooner. Fundraising has helped but over the last three years the FVC has had to tap into its reserves which have fast depleted.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the FVC was unable to operate fully for over a year. The pandemic also resulted in the loss of some volunteers and as a direct result, client numbers have also fallen. Post-pandemic it has been extremely hard to recruit additional volunteers, this combined with the reduction in clients requiring help has contributed to the decision to close the charity.

The Trustees and committee thank all volunteers past and present, and thank the many individuals, organisations and companies that have offered financial support.

The Trustees would like to thank all volunteers past and present who have given up their time over the many years that the charity has operated. Without their dedication, none of the good work carried out would have been possible. The committee would also like to thank the many private individuals, organisations and companies in the area that have offered financial support over the years.

Sandra Hunter, co-ordinator for the charity, added that like the Trustees she is saddened that the FVC has to close. Sandra has met many hardworking volunteers during her time at the centre and has engaged with many clients. Sandra has also confirmed that the FVC will stop its services at the end of December 2022. Any clients who still need help may wish to contact one of the other charitable services that are available in our wonderful town. Sandra has also said that the FVC email will continue to operate for 30 days after the centre closes, just in case anyone needs guidance or help to engage with another organisation.

The email address for anyone who needs to make contact is:

St Felix RC Church

The fact is that many people are going to spend Christmas alone. For some this will be by choice, people who are perfectly happy with their own company, but for many it will not be by choice. They would much prefer to be with other people and know the warmth of companionship. For many, Christmas can be a difficult time, the most difficult time of the year. For some there will be the heartache of bereavement. For others the distress of a relationship having broken down. There are many reasons for loneliness at Christmas, but just one common sadness.

If you are going to be lonely at Christmas, I would like to make a suggestion, one which may surprise you – go in heart and mind to Bethlehem and spend Christmas with the Holy family. This is not as unrealistic and far-fetched as it sounds. We are all endowed with imagination, with the ability to picture things and pass beyond our immediate surroundings. In this way we are able to be in the company of Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus lying in the manger.

In your imagination, first be with Mary and Joseph as they make their way to Bethlehem. Feel the hardness of the road and the chill of the winter wind. Listen as Joseph shares his anxiety with you as to where they will stay and let Mary confide in you her fear that the pains of labour may come upon her before they reach the town. Then trudge around Bethlehem with Mary and Joseph as they try to find somewhere to stay. Hear the refusals to provide accommodation and share their mounting anxiety as to where they will spend the night. Then share their relief when a stable is offered and go with them into its warmth. Hear the animals shifting in the straw as Joseph seeks to make his wife more comfortable. Continue in this way with the Christmas story. Enter into it and in your heart and mind, take part in all that happened. Go often to the stable over Christmas and be there with the Holy family. Become their friend.

If one has imagination and the desire to accept comfort and joy from the Holy child of Bethlehem, there is no reason why you should endure complete loneliness this Christmas. The Holy family are inviting you to be with them. They don’t want you to be alone.

Fr John Barnes

Ipswich Over 50s Brass Band Christmas Concert 

The band returns to The Orwell Hotel, Felixstowe, on Thursday 22 December for their Christmas Concert. This follows on from an enjoyable and successful summer of performances at the Triangle, where the band were made to feel welcome and part of the town. The band will be playing seasonal music for all tastes to help you get into a festive mood. 

Entry costs £8 per person (payable at the door) and includes tea or coffee with mince pies served during the interval. Doors open at 1.15pm and the concert will start at 2pm. Once again, the band will be collecting for St Elizabeth Hospice and RNIB.

Felixstowe Speakers Club

At our September meeting we started our new educational year with a brand-new agenda. In addition to our normal speaking education, we will also be learning leadership skills. For our October meeting we focussed on chairmanship and running a meeting. In November there will be a focus on providing evaluations on gestures and body language while performing a speech, and in December we will be having our Christmas dinner with a variety of games and activities.

At the time of writing, we have just had our October meeting. The first part of the meeting consisted of our traditional warm-up section and the topic for this month was How confident do you feel about the future? Overall, we are optimistic about the future. Happiness from recent marriages, future job prospects and living life to the full were our reasons to be positive.

This month we had two education sessions. The first was around chairmanship and the second was around how to run a speakers club meeting. For chairmanship, we were introduced to the Belbin model. A healthy team would look to have people who fit in one or two of these roles and it was interesting to see where people put themselves within the model. For the running of a club meeting, we ran through the basics such as greeting members as they arrive, introducing the programme and concluding the meeting on time. 

Our meetings are held at the Brook Hotel, Orwell Road, Felixstowe IP11 7PF, 7.30-10pm. Whatever level of speaking skill and confidence you have, the club aims to help you to develop them with both prepared and off-the-cuff speeches, for entertaining or formal occasions. Please come along and see for yourself. The first session is free! 

For more information and to contact us visit:

Felixstowe Art Group

If you are looking for that special gift for Christmas or a birthday, do visit Felixstowe Art Group’s Gallery at the bottom of Bent Hill. The Gallery, which was opened in 1979 to give members the opportunity to sell their work, continues to offer a variety of original framed and unframed paintings and occasionally includes 3D work. Members of the group are quite diverse in the approach to their work and medium used. 

Although the Gallery is small, it is big on choice as there is always something new to see with a changeover of work every six weeks or so. The next changeover is Monday 19 December. The Gallery is staffed as often as possible by members of the group with opening days and times displayed accordingly. 

Moving on to our regular meetings at Broadway House, Orwell Road, the final meeting of 2022 is on Tuesday 13 December at 7.30pm. Christopher Cushing will be presenting a talk: Understanding the Art World. The evening also includes a Christmas card competition which is open to all members of the group. Entry for members is free and visitors are welcome at the cost of £2.

For more information about Felixstowe Art Group, visit:  

St Martin’s Church Christmas Trail

The Christmas Trail will be open again in St Martin’s churchyard from 12 December to 8 January. Come and explore the Christmas story as told by some of the characters. As well as activities around the trail, you’ll find fun things to enjoy at home on the church website:


Gippeswyk Singers warmly invite you to their Christmas concert Magnificat! on Saturday 10 December, 8pm at Felixstowe United Reformed Church, Orwell Road, Felixstowe IP11 7NZ, where they will be joined by the Dargason String Ensemble for Vivaldi’s Credo in E minor and Pachelbel’s Magnificat in D. It promises to be an exciting evening of lively and melodic Baroque choral works which are not widely performed, but really should be! 

The programme also includes carols for choir and audience, including three carols composed by Gippeswyk Singers’ musical director, Janette Ruocco. The Dargason Ensemble will soothe you with Pachelbel’s famous, very popular Canon in D and the concert will close with Bob Chilcott’s delightfully exuberant Twelve Days of Christmas. Sabina Sutton will play keyboard.

Refreshments will be available at the end of the concert. Do stay and have a Christmas drink and a chat. If you are interested in joining the choir, current members will be happy to answer any questions you have.

Tickets cost £10 and are available in advance from any choir member, Michael Dawe: 01473 620353 / or on the door.

Orwell Decorative & Fine Arts Society

From Tchaikovsky to Tin Pan Alley – Uplifting Music for Christmas: Musician and broadcaster Sandy Burnett shares his selection of much-loved Christmas tunes from across the globe at our meeting on Wednesday 7 December at 2.15pm.

Do join us at Tower Hall, 5 Broadlands Way, Rushmere St Andrew IP4 5SU. The hall is open from 1.30pm with tea and coffee available. Guests are welcome.

For more information, visit our website: or email Michele Abson:

A short festive break for u3a

East Suffolk u3a takes a break over the Christmas and New Year period. Its last meeting of the year is on Monday 28 November at 2pm at Kesgrave Community Centre, Twelve Acre Approach, Bell Lane, Kesgrave IP5 1JF.

The speaker is Charles Garland and his talk is entitled: From Vicar’s Son to BBC Producer. He will talk about life in the vicarage and behind the scenes in the parish church to his career at the BBC, as an assistant to Sir Jonathan Miller, making tea on Hi-De-Hi to producing Oh Dr Beeching and becoming series editor on Dad’s Army

The 2023 programme in Kesgrave begins on 30 January with a talk about life as a Yellow Coat in a holiday camp.

u3a East Suffolk has a strong local following and offers members a choice of 160 activity groups that include discussing the arts, history, science, learning a new foreign language, walking, quizzing, dining out and more. New members, retired or semi-retired, are welcome with the expectation that they will participate and contribute.

u3a wishes all its members a joyful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

To find out more about u3a, visit: or call the membership secretary: 0300 123 3913

Find more community news in Spotlight on Felixstowe magazine:

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