This December, Charlie House's services team have worked hard to bring festive cheer to families at what can often be a difficult time of year.
It has been a challenging few weeks for many of the families supported by Charlie House. Winter weather conditions, alongside the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, have seen many of them isolated and feeling vulnerable. In addition, while Christmas is fun for most, this time of year can mean added pressure for parents and carers who, like most of us, simply want to enjoy Christmas with their children and family.
This December we are shining a spotlight on the ups and downs that families can face at this time of year and highlighting the difference that Charlie House support can make, so that they can relax and enjoy some special moments together.
At Charlie House, we know that winter can be an especially difficult time for the families that we support. Access to outdoor spaces and fresh air can often be restricted due to weather conditions and compromised immune systems. This coupled with the impact of the pandemic – including reduced access to routine healthcare and support services - has left many of the children and families that we work with feeling more socially excluded and isolated than ever.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, requests for support from Charlie House have risen by 84%, so we know that we need to do the very best that we can to provide that constant contact and support network, while delivering opportunities that families can enjoy together to create special memories that will last a lifetime.
Everything we do at Christmas focuses on creating magical moments that are safe, accessible, and packed full of fun and laughter. Like all Charlie House activities we always remain focused on helping families to connect with each other, engage socially, gain confidence, and meet others in a similar situation – while offering the emotional and practical support when they need through hour ongoing support services.
This month, our Activities Coordinators Kayleigh and Claire have worked especially hard organising a weekend-long Virtual Christmas Party. The weekend long party kicked off with much-loved Makaton group Singing Hands, who joined the team and families live with a variety of Christmas songs. Everyone got stuck in singing and Makaton signing along. This was followed by a parent and carer wreath making workshop, which give them some well-deserved me time knowing their children were safe at home and had them showing off their creations with pride.
On Sunday, children’s entertainer Captain Fantastic joined the party and took the families through lots of fun challenges including a mini talent show, a scavenger hunt, musical statues, blindfolded drawing, and a mummy challenge. Our services team took delight in getting involved too as you can see from these pictures!
Last but not least, the team held a viewing of Artie’s Singing Kettle Christmas show the whole family took part in Rock and Roll Bingo and finished the day off with more fun and games from Party Peeps, which involved even more dancing.
A virtual party ensured that the event was as safe and accessible as possible for every family supported by Charlie House. They could be where is most comfortable for their child. Being at home limits risk, they could also administer medicine and perhaps tube feed deliver care to their child and even stay in their pyjamas if they wanted to – all while having lots of festive fun. Many of the sessions were also recorded so families could go back and watch if they weren’t able to attend.
We couldn’t be more thankful to all Charlie House supporters and donors who make our work possible. Without your generosity and commitment to our work, we simply wouldn’t be able to deliver such wonderful opportunities, helping families to enjoy every moment that they have together.
We would also like to give special thanks to several organisations that helped spread joy to the families over the festive season. Jamieson’s Quarries donated Christmas selection boxes and Elizabeth Taylor who donated chocolate treats, Baker Hughes provided box tickets for families to attend Disney on Ice at P&J Live, Aberdeen for All have given tickets for them to attend football matches. Our friends at Candy Clouds have also sent out lovely gift boxes with bath bombs and shower steamers.
The wonderful support that we receive at Christmas and throughout the year makes all of this possible. Thank you! Find out more about how Charlie House and our services team provide support to families here.