The magic of music and movement

At Brandon Day Centre, we recently welcomed some very special visitors to join us for our second mixed-generation music and movement workshop aimed at bringing fun and learning to physical activity.

Following the success of our first workshop ‘Splish, Splash, Splosh’, ‘Animal Magic’ allowed participants to explore their own unique ways of moving as they became the animals featured in the songs. Some tried out their chimp cha-cha-cha, others rocked like a rhino and some took on the characteristics of sharks, mice and other creatures from the animal kingdom.

Music and dance are such simple ways to bring people together. It doesn’t matter what age or ability, as people begin to move, you can feel the energy levels in the room lift. As they hear a beat or remember lyrics from days gone by, you can see moods lighten and a sparkle creep into eyes. As well as the great benefits of being more active, the real magic happens when participants talk, engage and laugh with each other. These workshops are a gentle way to bring different generations together who wouldn’t normally meet, offering them the opportunity to share ideas and experiences and have fun in a way that is completely new to them all.

At the end of the session, Jo told us, “When I think about the Animal Magic workshop, all I can see are the smiles! Staff, volunteers, children, parents and day centre members, all trying something new together – laughing, mixing and having fun! Bringing the community together in this way through music, movement and dance is inclusive and uplifting and can’t help but do everyone involved a little bit of good! Brandon Day Centre is in the heart of the community and is the perfect setting for such a joyful event. Many thanks to Empanda Care & Support for all their enthusiasm and backing in piloting the Dance Generation workshops.”

We are hoping to run more inter-generational dance workshops at Brandon Day Centre in the future. If you have young children and would like to take part and share this uplifting experience, please contact Jo at, or call her on 07746 470774.






















Bloomin’ Marvellous

L to R: Jane, Kerrie and Adele

Oak Trees Respite Service for adults with a learning difficulty received a fantastic boost recently, when they received a special donation of £220 as a contribution towards an ongoing garden makeover project at the scheme.

The cheque was presented to Kerrie Good, Director (Learning Difficulties) by Adele, chair of the Wymondham Flower Club and Jane Morgan, mother of James who uses our Respite Service, from proceeds of a Christmas event organised by Jane and her mother Doris.

The presentation formed part of a flower arranging event in Costessey where guests enjoyed live demonstrations, as well as an insight into the skills, knowledge and techniques needed in the art of flower arranging.

Kerrie said, “Everyone was really welcoming. I was both amazed and fascinated by the skills on show by the demonstrator, it really is at art form.” She added, “I am humbled by everyone’s generosity and would like to extend a huge thank you to Doris and Jane for their continuing support of the Oak Trees Respite and Support Living Services. Their contributions really do make a huge difference to everyone using our services and for that, we are truly grateful.”




Celebrating Volunteers’ Week 2019

As is tradition during the first week of June, Volunteers’ Week is a time to say thank you for the fantastic contribution volunteers make.

Charities across the UK will be holding events to celebrate the power of volunteering and last year, over 600 events took place across the country.

We will be celebrating the difference volunteers make to Empanda and every day this week, we will share a story that showcases the wonderful and invaluable role they play in our organisation.

Sally Hanlin, managing director said, ” We are indebted to our volunteers who give their time to support our many customers whilst enhancing the work of our staff team. We are delighted to be supporting Volunteers’ Week which gives us an opportunity to shout about the fantastic contribution our volunteers make to our organisation and more importantly, to the lives of the many people who use our services.”

We are hoping that by reading our stories, we will encourage people to try volunteering for the first time and to find out how, through volunteering, they can make a real difference.

Janet’s story
Lorraine’s story
Katy’s story
Alice’s story




It’s our Birthday!

Today marks Empanda’s third Anniversary and we are indebted to our wonderful staff team, our board and partnering organisations for their continued hard work and commitment in supporting us on our journey.

Another year older and another new project, this time in Diss, Norfolk.

We’re very happy to be working with Norfolk County Council to re-open the Denny Centre in Diss, providing day care for older, vulnerable people.

At the moment, we’re decorating and giving the building a general makeover with support from the Community Pay Back team.

We are planning an open event some time in the Summer. Watch this space!


A Birthday boost for Oak Trees

Following their amazing fundraising efforts last year, which included money to purchase two specially adapted bicycles and accessories, family of respite service user James Morgan, have again worked their fundraising magic.

Doris, James’ grandmother, recently celebrated her 90th Birthday but instead of accepting gifts for her milestone Birthday, she asked friends and family to donate to Oak Trees respite service for adults with learning difficulties.

Over the course of three separate celebratory lunches with various groups of friends and family, a grand total of £840 was raised. With a passion for flower arranging and gardening, the money is earmarked for landscaping, installing raised beds and flower planting in the Oak Trees Garden which is in need of a much-needed makeover.

An initial visit has now taken place to see what needs to be done and it is hoped that work will start shortly. Helping on the project will be James’ uncle and some of the young people living within our young people’s projects. It will also give those using the respite and supported living services the opportunity to try their hand at gardening.

In addition to this latest fundraising activity, since Empanda started in April 2016, the Morgan family have raised a fantastic £4,380 for the learning difficulty service, including £2,750 from flower arranging demonstrations and £790 from events at Wymondham Golf Society.

Kerrie Good, Director (Learning Difficulty Services), said, “We are bowled over by the dedication and commitment by the Morgans of our learning difficulty services and with their tireless fundraising efforts – thank you from us all.”

Empanda staff donate to EAAA at Christmas

On behalf of Empanda and East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA), we would like to say a huge thank you to the Empanda staff team who voted to support the charity instead of receiving a company Christmas gift themselves. The unanimous ‘yes’ vote to donate money to East Anglian Air Ambulance, together with a donation from Empanda from money saved by sending an e-Christmas card instead of buying and posting traditional paper cards, has meant so much to the charity and we have since heard how our gift changes lives and makes a real difference to those in need of help.

In her recent  letter, which included a certificate for us to display, Jenny Mitchell, EAAA’s Development and Community Administrator, thanked everyone for their contribution which helps people like Charlotte, who had suffered a cardiac arrest. She recounted the story of how Charlotte’s husband James reacted instantly to help his wife, calling 999 and beginning immediate CPR. First responders quickly arrived on scene and Charlotte received two shocks from a defibrillator to get her heart back into a rhythm. The EEAST (East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust) team then arrived, followed by the EAAA crew. The EAAA team assessed and monitored Charlotte’s heart via ECG and cardiac ultrasound, gained intravenous access to administer medication and intubated her to take control of her breathing. Charlotte was then taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital with the EAAA crew by her side. She remained in hospital for two weeks, but despite suffering an arrest at such a young age, Charlotte made a great recovery and was soon picking up life as a busy mum once again.

With over 50 of the Empanda team spread across Norfolk and Suffolk, there was always the possibility of one of us or our loved ones needing this much needed service at some point. During the summer of 2018, a close relative of a team member suffered a serious road accident in a very rural location and received potentially life-saving treatment by Air Ambulance medics. Because of the prompt response by the rescue team, our colleague’s relative is now on the mend, so we are especially pleased our staff chose to support this wonderful and vitally important charity.

EAAA helicopters are able to reach anywhere in the region within 25 minutes. Their pilots fly a highly-skilled doctor and critical care paramedic team along with A&E level medical equipment, to patients who have suffered life-threatening accidents and medical emergencies.

The EAAA relies on the generous support of the community and couldn’t continue to provide their life-saving service without it.

Click here to find out more about the tremendous work being done every day by East Anglian Air Ambulance and how you can help support them.