Why we take part
It is a real highlight in our yearly calendar and we, as a community, gain tremendously in so many ways.
Although our Chapel is in the middle of town, it is tucked away in its own grounds and many local people have never visited. Through Heritage Open Days, we can show we are not just a beautiful historic building with a fascinating story, but we are a lively and welcoming group who are keen to support our town and the groups and charities which make it an interesting place to live.
As a member of a small, but very enthusiastic team, we start our planning soon after Christmas. HODs gives our Chapel the opportunity to open its doors to everyone and the ever-changing yearly theme enables us to highlight different features in the chapel buildings. This year several lively short talks about local customs connected to food took place in the Chapel and were also broadcast via Zoom. After the Gooseberry Pies talk, sixty portions of gooseberry pie, which had been made using an old recipe by congregation members, were given out and enjoyed by the audience!
As well as the talks, in the schoolroom there was a very popular exhibition of kitchen utensils and recipes over time which incorporated a fun quiz. We also ran art and model making activities for youngsters - keeping to the theme of Edible England we made models like 5* insect hotels from sticks which were hung in the trees to encourage wildlife.
During the Saturday, people sat outside at tables in the sunshine to enjoy tea, coffee and cakes whilst on the lawn around lunchtime, our traditional Hot Cross Bun distribution took place again when sixty buns were given out to youngsters and passers-by. This annual feature had also been advertised to attract those who had perhaps queued in years gone by to get their bun and several people came along and told us about their experiences. We heard how one boy, now a doctor, used to ride nearly ten miles on his bike to join the queue because when times were hard, to have a bun to eat yourself was a welcome treat.
Working in partnership
- Our local Sherwood U3A Photography For Fun Group put on a display of varied photos around the “Edible England” theme.
- Not only did the Chapel have display-boards of local interest, there were details about Sherwood Food Bank which received Harvest produce donated by the congregation after our weekend had concluded with a Harvest Service
- As litter from food wrappings is a big problem nationally, Mansfield Rotary Group has initiated a litter clearing project in the area, so one of their members came along to our grounds to chat to passers-by and give out litter-pickers to encourage people to keep their own local area tidy.
The difference it makes
- Throughout our participation of HOD, local politicians like our former MP and different Executive Mayors have always been keen to come and officially open the event as it brings prestige to the town.
- It is a motivating force bringing together our Chapel members to ensure we have sufficient volunteers to cover the opening times and allows them to get to know each other better.
- Over the years we have become more skilled at involving groups in our wider community who come to see their own work on display, so our presence in the area is wider known.
- The varied HODs themes have meant people from near and far have read about the events on the national site and come along, despite few other places opening locally.
I thought this building was a factory, 'til I stepped inside!
I remember my gran using one of those metal pastry cutters... this exhibition really takes me back.
Inspired? Find out more
- Mansfield Unitarians: The Old Meeting House
- Watch Viv's video explaining more about their experience with Heritage Open Days
- More case studies - Meet other local organisers
- Get involved - Taking part in Heritage Open Days