Members of the Open Door Centre in Gorse Hill were expecting a donation of a small television, but they were wide eyed with amazement when North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson turned up on 23 April with a 52" Panasonic flat screen.
Justin had been asked by his friend Jez Webb of Webb’s Wood Products if he knew of a charity which would welcome a donation of £500. Jez had received the money from Tesco after he rented land to fly a balloon promoting their new Faringdon store.
Welcoming the donation to the Open Door, from left, Julie Walker, Kim Warren, Justin Tomlinson MP, Andrew McKenzie, David Wigmore, Craig Hiscock, David Boote, Tom Fullalove of Webbs Timber
Justin knew of just the group that could benefit. He said: "I’ve visited Open Door several times and have friends who use the day centre. They provide amazing daily support to adults with learning disabilities, who may also have physical disabilities or mental health issues.
"We went shopping on 22 April and used our powers of persuasion at several retailers in the town centre and came away with the TV, and an older generation Wii which Craig at Open Door had asked for. We were also able to supply several games like Wii-fit. It all came in at £498 which was really pleasing. The TV was so big that we couldn’t get it in our vehicle and had to carry it through the town and leave it at the MPs office for the night."
Open Door provides a day centre on Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 4pm, but are planning to open evening sessions.
Senior support worker Craig Hiscock said: "I thought we’d get a 32" TV but it was amazing when Justin arrived with the huge Panasonic. We’re going to turn one of the rooms in the church hall into a mini-cinema; a 52" screen will really make it feel like it is a cinema where members can get together to watch films together during our usual opening hours and in the evening.
"We also want to run Wii-fiit sessions with members so that they can get fitter in a fun way with others. They’ll be able to work out in front of the TV as if they’re at the gym.
"Many of our members don’t have a lot to do of an evening, so coming out to meet up with friends in a safe environment will be attractive. The donation from Jez Webb means we now have a stepping stone to apply for grants to expand our activities. We’re really grateful to Jez and Justin for thinking of us."