Celebrate Ipswich Libraries volunteers with high tea at home

Co-presidents of Friends of Ipswich Libraries, Vicki Doig and Eirys Jones, will be hosting a FOILS High Tea of a different kind this year.

With programs and events at the library currently on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions, the library volunteers will be bringing out their best china this Friday to host their own mini-events at home instead of the library, for the FOILS Simultaneous High Tea.

The Friends group is inviting everyone in the community to join in from the comfort of their own home.

“It’s about connecting our community and also it’s a good excuse to celebrate easing restrictions and seeing the library open up again,” Ms Jones said.

“For the FOILS, it’s really about bringing our members and supporters together. I think everyone has really missed that sense of fellowship while staying at home over these past few months.”

With this year’s event being held during National Volunteer week, Ms Doig said there is even more reason for people to get involved with their own FOILS High Tea at home, provided they don’t forget about physical distancing measures.

“Eirys and I are each having a few of the Friends of Ipswich Libraries group over to our houses and have set up the chairs to be socially distanced, but even if you pick up the phone and call a friend to have a cuppa, it’s a good reminder to stay in touch with people right now,” Ms Doig said.

“We really enjoy volunteering and giving something back. Our parents and grandparents were all very involved in the Ipswich community so we’re continuing on that tradition by volunteering.”

The two friends have been doing their best to stay connected during isolation by ringing around to check in with other library volunteers.

“We thought we needed to maintain those connections, so when we have the time, we pick up the phone,” Ms Jones said.

“Some of our FOILS members are involved in lots of other volunteer work across Ipswich as well, so they have really been missing their regular contact with people.”

Ms Jones and Ms Doig have known each other for many years, initially through family connections as school girls and later as educators themselves.

“I met Eirys when I was a director at Ipswich Kindergarten. I was there for more than 40 years and Eirys Jones was teaching at Ipswich Girls Grammar for 36 years,” Ms Doig said.

While no longer teaching, both women continue to share their love of reading with others through FOILS programs, from packing bags for Books for Babies to organising trivia nights and working on special events with guest speakers and book sales.

“It provides so many opportunities for outreach by bringing people in to the library who may not usually come in,” Ms Jones said.

“It’s also good to give back and help Ipswich Libraries, because it’s a lovely library.”

Ms Doig said she is looking forward to the return of FOILS events at Ipswich Libraries as restrictions ease further in coming months.

“I love chatting, I will talk to anyone, and I like meeting so many different people through our events,” Ms Doig said.

“We’ll enjoy our FOILS High Tea at home, but it’ll be a real celebration when we can hold our next event at the library.”

The Simultaneous Friends of Ipswich Libraries (FOILS) High Tea at Home is being held at 10am on Friday 22 May.

Please join in the fun by hosting your own high tea. Share photos of your high tea and your favourite tea set on social media by using the hashtags #ILhighteaathome and #FOILSfromhome. Or email your photos to [email protected]

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