Moving on to December, our Christmas meeting has been a bit of a highlight for the last couple of years. Now that we're graced with our member Karen and her piano-tickling skills, the main attraction of the day is now always a good old Christmas carol sing-a-long - and will be forevermore! Don't question it, we like a ritual, and if something works, e.g. carols at the piano, wine and cheese tasting in October etc... we tend to flog it to death. This year, as an extra-special triple treat, Karen not only played piano, but deftly produced her ukelele for a few numbers, joined by another of our members and Karen's ukelele bandmate, Sue.
But before the musical finale we had work to do. It might seem harsh on our hardworking members, but we decided to share a bit of goodwill, comfort and joy around, you know... seeing as it's Christmas. Over the last couple of months we had collected a huge pile of food and toiletry donations for both the local food bank and a women's refuge, and so one team of our members in attendance set to work giftwrapping and packing the boxes of donations.
The second team task was something of a last minute addition, but a very worthy one. We'd heard about a local initiative, 'The Christmas Dinner with Lemn Sissay'. Lemn Sissay is a poet who is known, amongst many other things, for drawing on his own childhood in the care system in his work, and also for his exemplary work in helping to support and provide opportunities for young care leavers. The Christmas Dinner began as a single event in Manchester in 2013, and has since expanded to Manchester, Leeds, London, Liverpool and Oxford in 2016. It is a Christmas Dinner with a difference, a lavish event at a secret location for young care leavers aged 18-25. The events are organised by teams of volunteers who comprise a mix of professional creatives and workers in the care and social system. The creative energy of those involved, and the generous donations of local businesses and individuals ensure a really special and beautiful day for the young guests, who otherwise (sad to say, but it is true) would probably be on their own on Christmas Day.
We got in touch with the organisers and asked if there was anything creative we might be able to do to help at our December meeting, and the reply was "Yes, we need invitations!" As a lovely touch, the invitees all receive personalised invites, and case worker Becky joined us to help our production line with the task. A huge thank you goes out to everyone who helped on the day, and we hope that all at the Christmas Dinner had as much fun as we did at our sing-a-long :-) Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all. xx
|Goodies for the food bank|
|Good job, gift wrapping team|
|Super work, card-makers|