Christmas is around the corner. As our 12 days of Christmas campaign kicks off, we invited folk at our Norwich residential home to a roadshow version, to get their festive crafty on, trying out resources from the twelve days that you can also enjoy.
Around Livability’s services, staff and people we support are getting into festive spirit with Christmas preparations, attire and decorations.
On a chilly day, we went along to Livability John Grooms Court in Norwich, to meet some of the residents who wanted to give the 12 days’ activities a try, and to tell us a little about what Christmas means to them.
Ideas in the 12 days’ emails include creating easy, accessible decorations, getting outdoors for a spot of stargazing and making cute, cuddly snowmen from something you are guaranteed to have around the house. At John Grooms Court, James, Sam, Catherine, Tina and Mandy were up for getting involved, and arrived decked out in suitably Christmas gear – a Christmas elf jumper for Catherine, and a surfing Santa shirt for James. They got stuck in, creating paper snowflakes to decorate the building’s windows.
Livability’s activities co-ordinator Lee Ashcroft, who works with all our services, knows from experience the positive impact shared activities have on the wellbeing of the people we support. Lee produces a year-round, online programme of activities, which embraces exercise, quizzes, crafts, games and cookery, to name a few. Feedback from people we support shows that taking part in an activity together, sometimes learning something new or revisiting an old favourite, adds up to more than just an hour or two’s fun. ‘People enjoy the sense of community when they try things together,’ says Lee. ‘Very often, someone will lack confidence at the start but end up being pleased as punch because they have achieved more than they thought they could.’
This was the case for Mandy, at the John Grooms Court Christmas session, when she attempted to make paper snowflakes, despite challenges with her dexterity . At the end, ‘I can do it!’ was her verdict. For Catherine, who says she isn’t crafty, doing something different was something she really enjoyed. Tina, who enjoys art in her own time, needed reassurance at points but carried on to create an intricately detailed snowflake decoration that impressed the group.
For some, Christmas can feel hard if family members have been lost, or disability means travelling home is not possible. Andrew, in his 60s, arrived at John Grooms Court nearly ten years ago, in the New Year. He speaks with great warmth about family get-togethers at Christmas, with his mum and four siblings. ‘Mum used to make lovely mince pieces and sausage rolls. No other family member could beat them, not even my sisters!’ he says. Andrew particularly loves the Slade song ‘Merry Christmas’ because of its line ‘are you waiting for the family to arrive?’ Now family members have passed on, Andrew spends Christmas at Livability John Grooms Court: ‘I found it hard when I moved here, going from a family to a group of 26 people. I stayed in my room at first but then I thought to myself “I’ve either got to start to mingle, or I’m just going to be here on my own”. Now people here are like my second family. We go through everything together and I love seeing everyone enjoying themselves at Christmas-time.’