Day Care customers receive a special Christmas gift

Bryan and Karen

Every customer using Empanda’s day care service at All Hallows will be receiving a special gift this Christmas thanks to the generosity of the Bungay Area Lions.

Centre Manager, Linda Robinson, had written to the Lions to ask whether they would be able to make a donation of £200 towards the purchase of a gift for those using the day care service and was absolutely delighted to receive £400 – double the amount!

A huge thank you to Bungay Area Lions Chair, Jane Gardiner and her fantastic team of fundraisers for your very generous donation and for bringing such joy to each and every one of our All Hallows customers – you have made such a difference and for that we are truly grateful.


Christmas Lights Display raises money for All Hallows Day Centre

Milestone Lane in Earsham, near Bungay, has once again been transformed into a Winter Wonderland this Christmas thanks to an amazing light display at the home of villager Keith Penn.

Keith’s display is raising money in aid of All Hallows Day Centre in the nearby village of Ditchingham, where Empanda delivers a service for older people with different levels of care and support needs offering therapeutic day care and an opportunity to have fun, socialise and take part in activities whilst giving family carers a well-earned break.

Keith started his annual Christmas light display back in 2007/8 which won him the Best Light Display in the Village Award and a prize of £20 from Earsham Parish Council (an award he has subsequently won on two further occasions), which he added to the £30 raised from donations that year.

Over the years, as people have become more aware of Keith’s display and make the trip to see it for themselves, his annual fundraising total has grown steadily from the initial £30 to an amazing £600 raised in 2020/21.

Ursula, Keith’s mother, attended the day care service at All Hallows once a week in 2005/6. When it was suggested that Keith should raise money for charity from his light display, this gave him the idea of donating to All Hallows Day Centre where his mother had enjoyed spending time. To date, he has raised just over £3,000, which includes proceeds from his tombola stall at the annual Earsham summer fete in 2019.

Putting on such a display is no mean feat, with preparations starting as early as October, when Keith draws up plans to show where everything will go. He then takes the lights and displays down from the loft during the first week in November when the mammoth task of installation begins in readiness for the 1 December ‘switch on’.

The amazing display includes 270 separate pieces, ranging from 1,000 lights in a single piece, to about 20 lights in the smaller pieces, such as the animals. Altogether, there are 42,443 bulbs and 270 plugs.

Keith said, “It’s always a pleasure putting the lights up – not so much taking them down because everything needs to be dismantled and dried off before being boxed up and returned to the loft. I usually complete this process by the end of the first week in February and then adjust my plans for the following year. It’s so dark after the lights come down which seems really strange, but it’s very rewarding to hear the positive comments from people, particularly the children, some of whom draw pictures and post them with their donations. I hope to continue with my display for the foreseeable future and thank everyone for their support and taking the trouble to comment.”

All Hallows Day Centre Manager, Linda Robinson said, “We can’t thank Keith enough for the money he has raised for our day care service over the last 15 years, and for all his hard work in creating these fabulous Christmas light displays. I really get a lot of pleasure in going to see Keith’s lights every year, his display is truly amazing.”

She added, “We have been able to buy so many things to help keep our day centre customers stimulated and active, including iPads, Alexa Shows and a Nintendo Wii. Some of the money has been used to take people on outings, and to have visitors to the Centre including Minidonks (miniature donkeys for wellbeing) and The Owl Sanctuary. The money has also enabled us to book many live entertainers over the years and our equipment cupboard has been regularly replenished with therapeutic and fun activities, all thanks to Keith’s generosity, for which we are truly grateful.”

“A special ‘thank you’ also goes to each and every member of the community who go along to enjoy the lights and generously donate and to previous sponsor Clean & Dry Laundry and Dry Cleaning Services in Bungay who continue to make a small donation towards the light display.

For anyone wanting to visit the display at Woodcroft in Milestone Lane, it is open each year from 1 December through to 5/6 January. People can enjoy the display daily from 3.45pm to 10.00pm, with the exception of Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day when the lights are on from 11.00am – midnight.

Empanda supports Big C at Christmas

We would like to say a huge thank you to the Empanda staff team who voted to support Big C Cancer Charity with money saved by sending an e-Christmas card instead of buying and posting traditional paper cards. Staff were again given the opportunity to nominate a charity/charities close to their own hearts, and the Big C received the most votes making it the outright winner, which is fitting as we recently lost a friend and colleague from our Learning Disabilities service to cancer and we have another in our day care team going through treatment at the moment.

We are delighted to be able to send a £200 donation which has meant so much to the charity.

Megan, from the Big C fundraising team said, “It is lovely to hear that you have chosen to support Big C this Christmas. At Big C we know that cancer can affect us all in many different ways, we see first-hand the impact it has on individuals, families and friends; and this year our support services have been needed more than ever before. However, through the support of people like yourselves, Big C can continue to ensure local people get the best in cancer care.

Your support will enable us to reach more people through our centres in Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Gorleston, Kings Lynn, Cromer, Thetford, Wells and the Pear Tree Hospice, as well as helping us to build our new centre in the heart of Norwich, to ensure we can continue to provide a range of support services to all those affected by cancer, and funding vital research projects into cancer at the Norwich Research Park.

Thank you once again for your generous support in helping to make a local difference.

Together we are improving the lives of those affected by cancer.”

Click here to find out more about the tremendous work being done every day at the Big C and how you can help support them.

Season’s Greetings

At the end of what has been another difficult and challenging year for everyone, we would like to wish our Empanda customers, website visitors, our partners, supporters, suppliers, colleagues, family and friends good health and much joy at Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Thank you for your support this year and we look forward to working with you again in 2022.

Empanda becomes Credit Union Partner

Empanda has signed up to become a payroll partner with Eastern Savings & Loans and from today, all employees and volunteers can benefit from Eastern Savings & Loans credit union membership.

A credit union is a financial co-operative which provides savings, loans and a range of financial services. Membership includes an easy access savings account, online and telephone banking, and free life and loan insurance. As a co-operative all members can share in the profits.

All savings are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme to the same level of protection as a high street bank or building society. Eastern Savings & Loans offer loans from £500 – £4,000 and interest rates are very competitive and with no fees, or charges for early or additional repayments. Employees can make loan repayments and save all in one easy payment, via Payroll deduction or standing order.

Empanda’s MD Sally Hanlin said, “We already have a comprehensive ‘We Value You’ package of benefits in place and are delighted to be adding Eastern Savings & Loans credit union and the valuable services they can offer our colleagues to enhance the package.”

You can find out more about Eastern Savings & Loans Credit Union by visiting the Eastern Savings & Loans website.


From small acorns …

In April this year, we were delighted to be celebrating our 5th Anniversary and Empanda colleagues and customers have contributed to a review which highlights Empanda’s key milestones in our first five years.

click here to read our story – we hope you enjoy it.

Celebrating Volunteers’ Week 2021

Each year, the first week of June marks Volunteers’ Week and a time to say thank you for the valuable contribution volunteers make within our communities and our organisations.

Volunteers have played a key role in the pandemic response and during what has been an exceptionally difficult year, people from all walks of life around the UK have taken the time to make a huge difference to their communities.

Unfortunately, in line with government and health guidelines, our day care centres were closed for much of 2020, opening briefly at the end of September until Christmas and then closed again until March. Whilst we are currently operating on limited days, with the superb roll-out programme of the vaccine, together with the extra measures we have in place to ensure our buildings are Covid-safe, we are hoping that as our customers feel more confident in leaving their homes, we will soon be able to resume our services five days a week.

We haven’t been able to welcome our volunteers back just yet but are delighted to have caught up with a few of them to find out what they have been up to in the last year to help those in their communities.

Volunteer Lorraine, who runs the Meet up Monday’s group at Brandon Day Centre, has herself been shielding but has been keeping in regular contact by telephone with some of her group members to check on their wellbeing and to provide a friendly voice. She told us that since starting the Meet up Monday’s group, she had become good friends with those who attend and wanted to ensure they weren’t feeling too isolated and that it was really nice to have a regular chat and general catch up.

Lorraine is eager to get the group restarted and is looking forward to welcoming her friends back very soon.

As well as volunteering at Brandon Day Centre a couple of days a week, Alice is usually very active in her local community, helping out with different groups and clubs. Unfortunately, with most activities on hold at the moment, Alice hasn’t been able to do as much as she’d like to but has kept herself busy by contributing a Brandon & District Garden Club article each month within the local magazine, Brandon Life.

Alice is very much looking forward to getting out and about again and to returning to Brandon Day Centre in the near future.

Stephanie, one of our team of volunteers at All Hallows Day Centre, has been busy spending time as a telephone befriender in her local community and is also looking forward to resuming her volunteering role with us at the day centre very soon.

Whilst we are celebrating the excellent contribution our volunteers make, special recognition goes to Janet who sadly passed away recently. Janet had been volunteering at Brandon Day Centre for over 20 years, giving her time so generously twice a week to support our day care team and to spend time with our day care service users. Janet particularly enjoyed taking part in quizzes and listening to people. She was always aware that whilst some people make new friends easily, there was always someone with whom she could build a rapport and spend quality time with to build their confidence. Janet was much loved and will be remembered fondly for her service and dedication.

Sally Hanlin, managing director said, “We are so grateful to our loyal group of volunteers who give their time and energy so freely to our service users. They are very valued members of the Empanda team and with COVID-19 restrictions now easing, we are very much looking forward to welcoming them back into our services.”

Empanda celebrates five years

At a time when so many businesses face an uncertain future we are delighted to be celebrating our fifth Anniversary.

Whilst five years is a long time, it seems like only yesterday that we started on this new venture. We are indebted to our staff team, our volunteers and our Board who without doubt, have made a huge contribution towards making Empanda the success it is today. Their passion and commitment never cease to amaze us – even more so during this past year.

Covid-19 has had a massive impact on the care and support sector and our staff teams have worked tirelessly to overcome the many challenges they have faced to keep themselves and our service users safe and happy. We are extremely lucky to have such a wonderful team.

Thanks also go to the many partners with whom we work. Again, we couldn’t have done it without them.

We will be publishing our five-year review in the Summer, but below you can see a snapshot of our performance so far.

We are very much looking forward to continuing our journey and to finding out what the next five years will bring.

Empanda team choose new core values

As we approach our fifth Anniversary, we have been reflecting on Empanda’s progress since our inception on 1 April 2016 and how the organisation has evolved during that time. We felt the timing was perfect to consult our staff team to come up with some core values they felt epitomised Empanda not only as a business, but as an employer and service provider.

Our new values, as chosen by the staff team will become part of our culture. They are already embedded into our everyday working practices and promoted widely across the organisation to ensure we don’t lose sight of what we believe in and to help us maintain our integrity and passion for what we do by living up to our values every day.




Empanda supports EACH at Christmas

We would like to say a huge thank you to the Empanda staff team who voted to support East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) with money saved by sending an e-Christmas card instead of buying and posting traditional paper cards. Staff were given the opportunity to choose a charity close to their own hearts, and out of the 16 charities nominated, EACH was the firm favourite. We were delighted to be able to send a £200 donation which has meant so much to the charity. We have since heard how our gift will help to support children, young people and their families living with life-threatening conditions.

In a letter from Billie Race, Corporate Fundraiser, she said, ‘Thank you so much for your generous donation in support of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and for thinking of us, particularly at this time of year. Your kind donation is very much appreciated and will help us continue to care for and support children, young people and their families living with life-threatening conditions. After a very difficult year, we’ve never needed more support, so this is much appreciated’

EACH offers care and support for children and young people with life-threatening conditions and support families across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk. EACH’s services are aimed at making the most of life no matter how short it may be and include short break care; family support; bereavement support; end-of-life care; specialist play care; a range of therapies for the children including hydro, music and physio; 24-hour telephone support and symptom management support and advice.

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