Katie's Diary

ubu's Christmas Sparkle Event 2018 Day 2

6th December 2018

Day 2 of our Christmas Sparkle Events and what a fantastic turn out again. Our hosts today were team members from York: Judith, Julie, Cordelia, Gillian, Jacqui, Rose and Gabby. With them they brought some festive treats and some fantastic festive games, fun was definitely had by all, especially when the snowball fight broke out!

York's Christmas Sparkle was for a husband and wife, Ralph and Helena, who came over from France in November 2017 looking for a better life.

Ralph is a retired English teacher and wanted to continue to make a difference in people’s lives. He applied to be a ubu team member and was offered a post, he was so excited to start work with us.

Ralph started his work with us on the 5th December, he and his wife began to look for accommodation whilst Ralph completed his shadowing but this seemed to be proving quite the challenge. Whilst looking for a new place to live they were temporarily staying in B&Bs but this began to become very expensive and they soon found themselves in financial hardship. Soon enough they were unable to pay the fees from the B&B and they were thrown onto the cold streets.

Unbeknown to us, he and his wife then spent the next few weeks homeless sleeping in bus shelters, train stations, anywhere where they could get some shelter. This continued all over Christmas and New Year, no Christmas, no presents, no warmth, cold and alone in an unfamiliar town and at a time of year when love and celebration should be shared by all.

Throughout this sad time, Ralph never failed to turn into work, he never let us down and his wife would wait hours for him with their suit cases, ready for another cold night once he had finished. In January his wife was waiting for him outside a church, a church which we use very often and when she mentioned she was waiting for her husband who worked for ubu, we asked her in and give her a warm drink and some food, we then helped them find a room in a shared house to live.

This year we wanted to show our appreciation for his commitment through such a difficult time in his life and give Ralph and his wife a little of what they missed last year.

We wanted to put the Christmas sparkle back into their lives in 2018.

We decided that we would ensure Ralph and Helena had a Christmas lunch, lots of festive treats and time off to spend with each other this Christmas. Oh and not forgetting a present to open each this year. We delivered a hamper, gift card and presents, they were very grateful, happy and surprised. We told him he couldn't open the presents until Christmas morning! His laugh filled the room!

Ralph stated that he loves his job and is grateful he was given the opportunity to be a ubu team member. He did not tell anyone of his situation at the time as he was terrified it would cost him his employment, he would like to thank ubu for this wonderful gift and is really looking forward to Christmas this year!

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