Somewhere to feel at home : Donnington Doorstep

Donnington Doorstep 1  Donnington Doorstep 4The Family Centre is slightly hidden behind some trees and bushes. These also give the place a cosy garden-atmosphere when you are outside the centre. And in fact, it’s a special spot, once the gate and two doors passed, you discover a rather unexpected venue. A giant place, like an enormous tent decorated with windows to see the sky… I can barely describe this incredible construction.
Entering Donnington Doorstep Family Centre feels like a harbour where you simply want to sit down to a cup of coffee and let your children play. A baby-corner, messy-play area, some tables with toys or craft activities, a place with books and some role-play equipment… your kids will be spoiled for choice!

For whom? Mums, dads, grandparents and carers with kids! There is also a Youth Group (read more: Good to know!).

Where? Townsend Square, OX4 4BB, Oxford. Contact: 72 77 21

Opening times? The family drop-in sessions are every day except for Sunday. Mon-Tue-Thu-Fri 10am-3pm, Wed 10am-1pm, Sat 10.30am-3pm.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat for? Lots of fun plays for Toddlers. The volunteers prepare every day tables with new activities. But the kids can also play outside, in a sandpit, cruise around with little cars or do some painting. Some days, the Centre offers special activities: Mondays Cooking in the afternoon, Tuesdays Singing with Lizzie (1.30pm-2pm), Wednesdays Bonfire in the garden, Saturdays Cooking session (11am). One of Donnington Doorsteps favourite activities is the messy-play (inside or outside). Be prepared and do not dress up your children in their best Sunday-clothes, in spite of some aprons to protect and some wellies to go out in the sand or if it’s raining in the mud 🙂

What about Babies? There is a calm and comfortable corner for the tiny ones. A space for them to lie down and play with some baby toys, but also some cushions and seats for the mothers/parents to feed them.
There is a changing room as well for the Babies with nappies and spare clothes provided, which can be extremely useful!

What about parents? It’s a good place to be if you are looking for support or help in your life as parents (to be). Different parenting groups and programmes also offer support during pregnancy and breastfeeding… they take place every week. Do not hesitate to ask a member of staff.

Donnington Doorstep 5Have lunch there? The Family Centre serves lunch on midday (except Sunday) which is a great opportunity to meet-up and enjoy nice home-cooked food. There is a remarkable odour in the whole place and icing on the cake: it’s affordable (kids and grownups portions).

Best time to go? Every day is different, but we love going there right when it opens, when it’s a bit calmer (and not yet too messy 🙂 ).

Please note! There is some space for pushchairs nearby the main door and they even are protected in case of rain.

Keep in mind! The daily family drop-in at Donnington-Doorstep is free. A donation of 1 GBP per visit is suggested Give what you can to help this Family Centre which is registered as a charity to stay open!

Keep in touch! www.donnington-doorstep.org.uk (nicely written website), for their news you can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Good to know! There is also a Youth Group on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. They have a special space for them with table football, a billiard table… A good place to be to meet friends, spend relaxed time and talk to some adults if they need advice or support.

Credit - Cathy Lewis

Credit – Cathy Lewis

A bit of history! 30 years ago a group of parents from the Donnington area were looking how they could contribute to a positive impact on local families. Initially there was a temporary building where an informal playgroup took place. Funds were raised and permitted to build the permanent Centre. In June 2014 a big 30th anniversary party attracted hundreds of guests.

Thanks to the Donnington Doorstep Family Centre for the beautiful pictures!

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