For individuals who live at a group of residential care and supported living services for people with learning disabilities and mental health in Wales and the North West, the run-up to Christmas is proving to be a more exciting than ever this year.
Since December 1, the services run by the Regard Group, have been taking part in a ‘24-days to Christmas’ project where people they support undertake a different festive activity each day.
“It means every day there is something new to look forward to.” said Ann Peebles, manager of The Uplands in Newbridge, Gwent, one of 28 services taking part.
“This could be anything from making Christmas cards to mince pies, from creating a special festive notice board to making a Christmas wreath.
“‘The people we support absolutely love it and have really engaged in all the activities. It is making every day feel a bit like Christmas Day!”
Each of the services, which jointly support 203 people, has been given a list of possible suggestions for daily activities.
At Homeleigh in Manchester individuals made a giant Christmas snowman out of plastic cups, and a life-size fireplace out of cardboard boxes.
“They also really love watching Christmas movies, especially Jack Frost with Michael Keaton which is a big favourite,” says Manager Lillian Kidd of Homeleigh in Middleton, Manchester.
“They watched the film in the afternoon while eating popcorn and then again in the evening with fish and chips.
“It is fun for the staff as well and brings everyone together.”
The ‘24 days of Christmas’ idea is the brainchild of Katie Owen manager of Regard’s Caeronnen service in Ceredigion.
“Katie ran the project at the service last year and it proved so popular we decided to roll it out across the region,” said Kay Beacham, Regional Director (Wales and the North West).
“It has had a wonderful impact in all of our services as some of the people we support can find Christmas a lonely time.
“The joy of all joining together to complete each day's challenge has been an added bonus. Staff have also been motivated by the daily challenge and are having huge fun preparing for Christmas.”
Regard is the UK’s fourth largest private organisation providing supported living and residential services for people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and acquired brain injury, caring for more than 1,300 people, with a dedicated staff of over 2,600 people working at 161 locations throughout the UK.
Families or social workers wishing for more information should contact Guy Page on 07773 746 614.