It’s been another busy and hugely positive month at EfW, with plenty of long-awaited haircuts visible during our online sessions!

Topics this month have been as varied as ever. The sad passing of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, seemed an appropriate time to talk about ‘Royalty’ (both the British royal family and royalty in other countries), and we were amazed at some of the conversations during the session, with people sharing anecdotes about seeing or meeting members of royal families during tours or working events. The Beginner-Intermediate group did a superb job of learning some rather tricky vocabulary and practised useful phrases to use when offering condolences to someone who has lost a loved one.  The topic led on to an interesting discussion about family histories and it appears that the study of Genealogy has become a popular pastime for many during lockdown!

The Beginner group have also spent a couple of sessions learning the names of different body parts, where they are located in the body, and how to describe pain or discomfort to a doctor. We have had several new learners join this group since the Easter break and it has been lovely to see how easily they have adapted to learning online in small, focused, groups.

To mark National Gardening Week, we returned to an EfW favourite and ran a session on the topic of Gardens and Growth. As always, there were plenty of tips and advice about plants and although some people don’t have their own gardens, it seemed that many have embraced the idea of ‘bringing the outside in’ and there was plenty of evidence of houseplants and herbs being grown on kitchen windowsills. The morning also provided an opportunity to talk about personal growth during lockdown. It has been, for many, a period of reflection and a chance to re-evaluate our priorities; some people have taken up a new hobby or learned a new skill while others have used the time to focus on their health and are being mindful about aspects of their lives they wish to change when restrictions lift further.

We ended the month with a joyful discussion about Music and what it means to us. Whether able to play an instrument, sing or simply listen, everyone agreed that music was an important part of our lives as it has the capacity to engage emotions, bring people together and instil creativity.

A brief update: Plans to reopen the main site in Chelmsford are progressing well. The wellbeing of our community will always be the priority but with more and more people receiving their vaccinations and with the team working alongside our partnership venue to ensure the appropriate safety measures are in place, we are currently on track to hold our first face-to-face sessions at the end of June 2021.

Running online sessions throughout lockdown has enabled us to extend our offering across a wider area of Essex which has been truly wonderful. As we proceed with our plans for the end of lockdown, one of our considerations is the continued provision of an online offering to run on an alternative day to the live sessions. This would mean that while we return to meeting in person for those that are able to and comfortable doing so, we would retain the connection for those who live further afield or for those who wish to wait a little longer before returning to the main sessions. We’ll keep you posted!

 Have a lovely few weeks, stay safe, and we’ll see you soon.

– The EfW Team