Christmas build-up for the Being There Housing Support Team.
Christmas for the team starts in October with lists of gift ideas and requests for financial help going out to churches and groups.
Come November it’s time to start the massive shopping spree! Each person we support on our team has a carefully chosen individual gift plus other goodies to make up a parcel. For many who we support these will be the only gifts received this Christmas, so we like to get it right.
Once all the parcels start arriving in the office it’s quite a task for the team to sort and label, then wrap and organise, ready to be taken out to folk at home or piled up around a tree ready for one of our Christmas dinners.
We have two Christmas meals, one the week before the big day and one on the 25th. Christmas day includes a church service first, then it’s up to our farm for a delicious dinner cooked and served in our Granary restaurant. After lunch, each person is given their bag of gifts and they are opened and shared with delight. We do occasionally get it wrong, last year we managed to get a pair of slippers with two right feet for one of our gents, but it caused a lot of laughs. After lunch we have games or a quiz and if the weather allows we also organise a walk down the valley for those who want to go.
The day ends with picnic bags for tea with pie, sandwiches, and treats for everyone to take home.
We also plan a family event for all those we support with younger children. This year we are going to a soft play venue where a member of staff from CFL will support each family.
We book out the place for our exclusive use as many of our parents are anxious about being in bigger groups or with others they don’t know. The children and some of the staff play for an hour as other staff chat with the parents. Afterwards, we all have tea and then the Christmas story is shared before Santa pays a visit with a sack of gifts.
This year we had a corporate group join us for the day to help pack 120 food hampers that will be distributed in the run-up to Christmas. Many food items have been gifted to us by supporters or money given to buy extra food treats.
There are also farm-run events such as the Christmas Bible study that many who we support out in the community will be coming along to. Advent Bible study notes are being given out too and again there has been lots of interest. What a joyous time to share with those in our care, our hope is that we can begin to replace unhappy memories with happy ones.