A record number of members of Love4Life, FitzRoy’s friendship and dating project in Hampshire, came together for a Great Gatsby themed ball to celebrate the end of another great year. Hayley Ostler, Project Coordinator, told us why she felt an overwhelming sense of pride looking around the room on the night.
We throw a ball at the end of every year, as a great excuse to be together one last time before the holiday break. This year we pulled out all the stops and I had planned lots of extra surprises. We had a hog roast, a sweet cart, an ariel hoop performer, and a photo booth for everyone to enjoy. All with the twist of a Great Gatsby theme plus disco and dancing.
I had managed to keep everything a secret until the night so it was great to watch surprised reactions when over fifty members arrived, a record for any Love4Life ball. Everyone was so excited, and in good spirits from the offset.
Once the ball was in full swing I looked around the room and was full of an overwhelming sense of pride which left me with tears in my eyes. I was watching on as people, who just a few months ago would have been at home on their own or too anxious to be in a big group, were mixing together and overcoming their social anxieties. It was just so amazing to see them break down personal barriers together.
Our brilliant Love4Life volunteers were in attendance, so the members used the occasion to thank them for their commitment to the group over the year with signed cards and chocolates which was a great moment.
All night, people danced, joked, and took photos together using the (very popular!) photo booth. It was evident to see the close bond that the members share. People were looking out for each other and making sure every others were included and involved if they were on their own, which made it feel like a family atmosphere.
When the evening came to a close many members thanked me and talked about how much Love4Life means to them. I went home feeling like it was the perfect way to end the year for us all. We can’t wait for the next ball already!â