Cirencester Round Table is seventy- two years old, Adam Baggs has been part of that tradition for the last twelve after accidently bumping into the idea and reality of Round Table at one of their big community events. “Here was a bunch of guys clearly having a great time, laughing, loads of banter and carrying on while raising thousands of pounds for local charities and their community. I remember thinking I want to be part of this.”
Adam describes a very real transformation because of making that decision to get involved. He’s been through some tough times but says being part of Table has been amazing, the personal support he has received has made a tremendous difference as well as building his skills.
Adam was secretary for three years before becoming the Chair but no matter what role he was playing he said that one of the high points in everyone’s Table year is the “Old Folk Supper.” A meal arranged for around 150 older people from around the town, including those who might not be getting out so much or might be a little isolated or lonely. All are welcome and most are identified via other local charities and organisations to make sure no one is left behind. The Churn Project locally particularly do a lot to ensure the most isolated and vulnerable were included and able to get involved.
The formats have changed slightly over time but the one held in March this year was particularly moving. “We had to change the location. Our usual place is now a COVID testing centre so we relocated to the Baptist Church Hall and for various other reasons the event became an afternoon tea rather than supper.”
We all went to a lot of effort to ensure the hall looked lovely and that all the tables were beautifully set. We had not been able to hold the event for last two years so everyone was really excited to be able to make this special. There were sandwiches, scones, cakes and biscuits to be made before, and fresh on the day.
The logistics of picking everyone up who needs a lift and getting them there at the right time can also be a challenge. All the Tablers, and their partners are involved - and this year (as ever) the Rotary Club also lent a hand.
Partners and family members are guest volunteers, sharing in the feast workload and offering help to whoever might need it. Children ran between tables, there was so much chatting and laughing, the atmosphere was wonderful, like a big family party. And when the old time dance music was played many left their seats to share a gentle waltz accompanied by one of the Table members.
Over 120 older people were part of the afternoon tea this year, encouraged to attend, transported where required, fed, watered and entertained before being safely returned to their homes.
Many spoke of this event being their first time out after the lock downs and restrictions of the last two years - the first time they had danced in many years - or even the first time they had ever drunk Pimms. However, Adam was particularly moved by a lady he had provided with a lift and had the pleasure to share a dance with. “In the car on their return journey to her home the lady confided that she had had a wonderful day and believed it was the first time she had really smiled since her husband had died during the first lock-down.”
“I was so moved and so proud that we had been able to do this. The event is paid for from money we collect during the Christmas period doing Santa’s Sleigh but it really isn’t about the money, it’s about all the effort and time we all put into it and it’s about these moments. I know we make a difference, we really are “rooted in community” and it makes sense that the Sleigh, which is so much about children, supports this event for our older community. And I love that the event embraces us all, all generations from all over our community.”
Round Table (RTBI) is a young man / men's club for those aged between 18 and 45. RTBI supports charities, the local community and its individual members through friendship and brotherhood. As part of the Round Table Family, RTBI is an inclusive organisation open to all individuals no matter their age or gender identification. To find out more visit our FAQs page or Contact Us.