Though we may celebrate it as the most wonderful time of the year, winter and the Christmas holiday season can be a particularly difficult time for many people for lots of reasons. This is our traditional time of giving, of being together with our family and friends and of thinking of others around us in our community. But what about those people who find themselves alone at this Christmas time? What do they need to make the most of enjoying the festive period?
At ubu we make sure that the people we serve are fully prepared for the challenges that the whole of the winter season brings with it. We listen to and then can understand individual needs and concerns. We plan and work towards making sure that each person is given just the right amount of support, are encouraged to enjoy and take part in the celebrations they choose and helped to find the best ways to keep healthy, warm and happy during the winter season.
Of course it’s not only on a physical level that we support the people we serve. For some, although Christmas is a time to enjoy being with family and friends, for others it can feel especially lonely and isolating. A big part of our role in transforming people’s lives is to find ways to address these feelings with minimal support while making sure that each person can achieve really good outcomes, sharing and taking part in the celebrations.
Research by the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission, earlier this year, shows that 53 per cent of disabled people report feeling lonely, which rises to nearly 80 per cent among disabled young people. We know that this is compounded at Christmas, when we are all ‘showered’ with romantic images of togetherness and happiness.
ubu makes sure that the people we serve are at the heart of everything we do. That’s why our 14 Days of Christmas celebrations this year have the theme ‘Unite@Christmas’. Our events have been open to everyone, the people we serve, our friends, families and children. We have had fantastic Christmas competitions which you can read about in our News section. The engagement and excitement we have shared with the people we serve has been tremendous!
We’ve had ‘Sparkle’ events in each of the areas we work in as part of our Unite@Christmas celebrations. People we serve have led the way in choosing and deciding on ways we can celebrate generosity, courage and kindness of people we’ve met in our local communities. It’s become a ubu tradition that each year, the people we serve nominate local people they have met and groups they have interacted with to receive a gift donated by and presented on behalf of ubu. It could be an experience like being taken out for a well-deserved treat or a hamper of simple luxuries to make Christmas a bit more special and bring some sparkle.
Our Unite@Christmas events help to bring some joy and excitement to people’s lives. They work to tackle loneliness, bring people together to sing and dance. They generate fun, happiness and excitement and help to spread real festive cheer far and wide.
I’d like to take this opportunity to extend the ‘sparkle’ we have been so fortunate to share and wish everyone a peaceful, caring and very Merry Christmas and a healthy, Happy New Year!