DABS – (Denmead Activities and Bible School) was started by CTD in 1981. The churches joined together to plan an ecumenical holiday club sharing God’s word with the children in the village. The first DABS in 1981 had an average 100 children attend each day and ran for almost 40 years with an overall average of 250 children attending each session. It was planned and organised by volunteers who planned for months ahead of the event. Over 100 volunteers spent the four days each year sharing the word and love of God with the children who, in the main, would not have had any Christian teaching. We also reached many adults amongst the helpers, including many of the members of our church family, and it brought a real sense of community, faith, fun and fellowship to the village every August.
Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic caused the cancellation of DABS in 2020, which would have marked our 40th anniversary and plans for 2021 were also cancelled. The DABS committee met to consider the way forward for DABS as it had become clear that the world is now a different place. People’s priorities and lives have changed and moved on and many of our key volunteers and leaders were unable to commit to helping this year. Despite some plans for succession there were significant gaps in key personnel. The uncertainty of the pandemic made planning difficult. Furthermore, costs would be incurred in hiring marquees and other facilities that could not be recouped if we had to cancel the event again.
In recent years, guidelines for safeguarding have become understandably more rigorous and significant training would now be required for each volunteer. Safer recruitment of helpers needs to be completed much earlier in the planning stage and this would exclude the vital number of helpers who have previously committed much later in the year. Logistically, running a school even for 4 days takes a huge amount of advance preparation, commitment, and manpower, especially to run DABS as it had evolved.
It was with a heavy heart that the committee made the difficult decision that DABS would no longer continue in its much-loved form. We do however want to celebrate all that DABS has achieved and to give thanks to God and to all those dedicated and committed volunteers, who have selflessly given their time and talents to DABS. DABS has reached out to hundreds of children and adults alike during its near 40 years and brought many to faith and sowed seeds of God’s love and words in the hearts of many.
The committee are really pleased to be able to plan a service of celebration for DABS (please see below) We warmly invite all past volunteers to come and join the celebrations and give thanks. We will be having afternoon tea, meeting old friends, revisiting DABS memories, and joining in a thanksgiving service in church to rekindle memories with prayer and old DABS songs.
If you have any questions please speak to Kim Markham, Kim Tocher or Tina Cottam. Though the DABS chapter may be closing, we will as a church need to look forward to where the future of outreach leads us, and we pray that the legacy of DABS continues in sharing Gods love and word with the children of Denmead.
Tina Cottam on behalf of the DABS Committee
Saturday 16th July 2022 at All Saints, Denmead
DABS started in 1981 and the DABS Committee want to celebrate the 40 plus years since it started, by inviting you along for a special celebration!
Food will be served from 12.30pm.
RSVP by 30th April, as we need to know numbers for catering purposes. Please advise on your reply of any special dietary requirements you have.
If you have any photos or memories about DABS that you would like us to include either in our display or in a commemorative book, please send them to:
c/o All Saints Parish Office, Hambledon Rd., Denmead. PO7 6NN
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
RSVP to Kim Markham at the above postal address or email by 30th April.