Story and photo by Amy Palmer
St James’ parent and toddler group was started by Isilda over 30 years ago in September 1986. I joined them for their Eid party to see what it was all about.
It may seem odd to have an Eid party in a church but the group of parents attending (some dads as well as mums) were a mixture of Muslim, Christian and non-religious people and it was clear that all families are welcome.
Emilie, mum of Stan, explained that everyone is really friendly here and it is just as important to help the parents socialise and talk as it is to help the children. She told me that once a month Isilda cooks a fried breakfast “which is amazing when you’re still learning to make a cup of tea one handed, holding a baby.”
The noisy energy of twenty children playing with an amazing variety of toys was occasionally punctuated by squabbles of children wanting the same toy. Dylan, dad of Aiden who was kitted out in his Hawaiian party shirt, said learning to share and play with other children was extra important for children without brothers and sisters.
Just as I was starting to wish the play slide was big enough for adults, the party tea was served and Isilda and her helpers brought out a feast of pasta bakes, pizza, samosas, and other treats.
St James’ church can be found on Scott Road, near where it is crossed by Abbeyfield Road. Playgroup runs from 9-11am on Tuesday and Thursday. Children up to school age are welcome with a parent/carer.