A true feeling of community
There were warm hellos, smiles and happy cries of recognition as friends and family old and new arrived at the historic Milton Rooms in Malton, for The Croft Community's 40th birthday celebrations.
It was an occasion for everyone to enjoy – and it reflected so much of what makes The Croft special.
Joanna summed it up by saying, 'I liked the fact that we could celebrate it, and that there were lots of people.'
Welcoming everyone in
The doors of the lovely old venue, in Malton's market square, were open all afternoon to members of the public.
People came in to see craft demonstrations, find out more about The Croft, and to taste and vote on the delicious confections that had been entered into the cake-baking competition.
The results of the public vote revealed some hidden talents at Rowan House: the cake-bakers there scooped all three top prizes.
Richard, who lives at Rowan House, and was involved in the baking activities, really enjoyed the day and his parents being there. His father, David, reflected, 'Richard's been here for thirteen years now.
At The Croft he has a sense of purpose in life, in a friendly environment and community where he can have as wide a life as possible. The Croft provides that for Richard. And that is great.'
Loving being part of it
The community's troupe of drummers performed in celebration. 'I especially liked the drumming', says Joanna, 'because I got to make lots and lots of noise.'
There was a Zumba demonstration, too. 'When you do Zumba you do movements', Jonathan explains. 'It's all different dances. Everybody was doing it.'
This has been Jonathan's first year at The Croft Community and he says, 'I like it so much. I want to stay here in the future as well. Everybody is my friend.'
The circle of family and friends
As evening drew in, those who live and work in the community today, their families, and friends from across the years and miles settled down for a tasty pie-and-pea supper.
It was followed by a ceilidh that almost raised the roof. 'It was brilliant', says Jonathan.
But everyone fell silent for the moment when Virginia cut the 40th birthday cake – a three-tiered beauty which took Kelly, who works at our Kingfisher Café, two days to make.
The honour of cutting it went to Virginia because 'I've been here the longest and I'm the eldest', she explains. 'I came here in '76. We only had The Croft house then. We had to eat in the kitchen. The garden was a wilderness.'
So what is the secret of building a community like The Croft from almost nothing, through all the times of change, to the vibrant 'family' of people, homes, workshops and enterprises it is today? 'It thrives because everyone feels part of a community', says Stuart. To which Joanna adds, 'I think The Croft Community will get to 60!'