13 January 2022

A HUGE thank you for all the donations of money and gifts for our residents at Christmas. Over £2000 was raised through a variety of means, including a quiz night at the White Horse pub in Crewkerne; a bingo night at Tramways in Wells; Maiden Beech Academy non uniform day as well as donations from Somerset Community Foundation, St Thomas Church, Wells United Reformed Church and some private donations.

The amazing WI donated 184 shoe boxes filled with wonderful gifts for our residents – they do this every year and we cannot emphasise enough how appreciated these are in making Christmas that bit more special.

Christmas in our projects:

  • Frome Foyer – Residents enjoyed a trip to the newly-opened Boulder Rooms in Frome, thank you to the Rotary and Frome Town Council for providing transport. Frome Town Council also donated a Christmas hamper.  Residents were very happy with their Christmas presents, especially those who were staying in crashpads who weren’t expecting anything.  PURE gifted the project some artificial Christmas trees which residents enjoyed in their flats and the Frome Pioneers organised a Christmas party.  One resident fulfilled a ‘bucket list’ aspiration to go to a carol service.
  • Street Foyer – Residents at Street Foyer enjoyed a foodie Christmas which started with Valentina baking everyone mince pies on Christmas Eve which gave the building a very Christmassey aroma! This continued with Marty and Tracey cooking Christmas dinner with residents on Christmas Day and residents also opened their presents with staff – One was quite overwhelmed and nearly in tears, not just because they were grateful but also because they felt cared for, for the first time.  The feast continued into Boxing Day when residents enjoyed a ‘leftovers’ buffet whilst several residents enjoyed opening their Christmas presents from us when they came back from being with their families.  A great few days.
  • Christopher House – Residents had a lovely Christmas at Christopher House. In the run up to Christmas, staff entertained residents by dressing up in festive attire with outfits ranging from a Christmas cracker, a Christmas tree and an elf.  There were 12 days of Christmas crafts, which ranged from Christmas wreath making and window decorating with chalk paints to making Christmas cards and decorations for Christopher House and baking biscuits.  There was also lots of fun and games – Jenga and Bingo were both very popular!  Residents enjoyed a buffet on Christmas Eve, Christmas dinner with all the trimmings on Christmas Day, a Boxing Day buffet and a New Year’s Day roast dinner.
  • South Somerset Dispersed – Some residents were surprised to receive gifts and they were all very grateful for them. The food vouchers were very much appreciated (as December is a difficult month to budget) and something that the team would like to repeat in future years.  Christmas dinner was donated by Hunts and other party food was donated by Iceland.
  • Hillside – One of the high points of Christmas was a trip to Brimsmore Garden Centre which is known for its award-winning Christmas displays. Residents enjoyed looking round and choosing a Christmas decoration to buy and keep and this was followed by delicious deluxe hot chocolates in the cafe.  Within the house there was a mix of Christmas and anti-Christmas activities (to support those who don’t enjoy the festive season) and decorations were enjoyed in the lounge only so there were some decoration free areas.  There were lots of arts and crafts including festive and non-festive wreath making and festive and non-festive film nights, from Love Actually to Norbit!  Staff and residents cooked vegetable soup and a Christmas dinner together and residents enjoyed a shared advent calendar with sweets and positive messages.  Another highlight was the donation of a PAT tested fridge to store donated food!  Lots of thought went into buying residents’ gifts and presents included fidget toys, furry hot water bottles and snuggly blankets to help with anxiety, bath bombs, toiletries and arts and crafts to promote relaxation as well as mugs (to avoid arguments!) and small items to make residents’ rooms more homely, such as containers for make up brushes and a dreamcatcher.
  • Adults – Christmas was quiet in Spencer House and Grace Harris House. There was a very interesting and informative trip to Shepton Mallet prison.  Residents and people supported in the community benefited from person-centred gifts which included a Manchester United fleece blanket which was loved by a former rough sleeper as well as a gardening book for an aspiring gardener and art supplies to foster a latent talent.