Hilton Family Support Christmas News
Simeon Ewing shares the latest news from Hilton Family Support, and there’s a message from Project Chair Barry Dennis. You can read it below, or here as a PDF.
It’s hard to think that Christmas is just round the corner. It may be a different kind of Christmas for many families this year due to restrictions. Families not able to be together, possible hardships due to furlough or job loss and so on. We have been planning for some time now to help make this festive season a little easier through food hampers and a book for the children. Instead of a toy this year we are giving the children pyjamas. During the Christmas holidays we are especially aware that there are extra mouths to feed and are primed with our own reserves of food and also food bank vouchers and we will be keeping in close touch with the families we support to reassure them we are always there for them. Thank you to Simeon, our Project Worker, and all our Trustees, volunteers and supporters. We couldn’t do it without you. Have a happy and blessed Christmas.
Project worker’s report:
When we last wrote, we had been hoping to get some activities up and running again in some form, starting with some small outdoor gatherings in back gardens. We did manage this – but sadly only for 2 weeks, before regulations changed again. We therefor returned to the question of how to maximise human interaction while staying within the guidelines, and the conclusions were that phone calls, group video calls, one-to-one doorstep visits and generally encouraging everyone to keep talking were the best ways to support each other through the significant mental challenges of isolation and anxiety. Our volunteers have been great at checking in with families on the phone, as well as one or two joining me in weekly video calls with each of our groups. I managed to get round just about everyone’s doors most weeks with a resumption of fresh fruit deliveries – the fruit always going down well, but mainly just being the excuse to have proper face-to-face support.
For me at least, September to November actually seemed to go by in a flash and here we already are just a few days away from Christmas. One way or another, December always seems to find a way to be full-on. Despite less or different activity to normal, this December has been no different. Normally at this time of year we would be having Christmas parties with all our different groups and would take our Parent Support groups out for a meal and along to the interactive ‘mini panto’ for toddlers at Eden Court. In place of the parties and outings we have sent out Christmas hampers, which in addition to food contained a Nativity book, decoration-making activities for kids and parents alike, Gingerbread house-making kits, puzzle books for the adults and a family voucher for a meal at the Anchor Café sometime over the festive period. The shopping for, packing and delivering of these boxes (for 25 families in total) was a mammoth task undertaken by myself and a handful of wonderful volunteers and spread out over around 3 weeks in total. While this was going on, there was a 4,000 word funding report being worked on in the background, as well as my first ever home recorded Christmas assembly video, for Hilton and Cauldeen Primary schools (which took significantly longer to make than the final 5-minute offering might make you think it took!).
So it has been busy, but very enjoyable and very rewarding. It’s fair to say I very much enjoy my job. Christmas is just around the corner, and I’m looking forward to a little time off. Without knowing what the regulation situation might be in the New Year, it is safe to say that January will consist of a lot of the same kind of things which went on in the Autumn, along with the possibility of a new weekly hot meals service and a good bit of video meetings with line manager and Trustees to think creatively about the way forward in 2021.
I wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas at the end of this difficult year. May we all have great hope for better times ahead.