A supported housing winter wonderland
One of our supported housing schemes in Essex transformed into a winter wonderland this month, bringing festive joy to its young residents.
Our team of support workers wanted to bring some magic to our 16-to-21-year-old residents and give them something to remember.
Inspired by German Christmas markets, they decorated the scheme and laid out a spread of treats including sausages and mince pies. The manager dressed up as Santa and gave everyone a present from under the tree.
The event was particularly memorable because they created a made-up currency that residents could use during the day’s festivities to get food and play games. This made winning prizes in the raffle and tombola especially fun and competitive.
We received generous donations of prizes, decorations and gifts from partner organisations, churches, charity shops and relatives. We were also helped out on the day by Nacro, social care and gateway managers, who we collaborate with all year round to make our service a success.
One of the residents, commented: “That was the best – amazing!”
Another young person said: “It was great. I won so much stuff!”
Samantha Kelly, the Scheme Manager, added:
“We wanted to give our residents the opportunity to make special memories, which they’ve never had before, and look back and recognise that people do care for them. That’s why we went big. It was worth every moment.
“For many of our residents, Christmas can trigger past traumas. So we decided to have this event earlier in the month and keep it separate. Christmas day itself was much quieter, with arts and crafts in the lounge, gifts and some food. Our team use trauma-informed approaches to support people through complex emotional times like Christmas, so that our residents can focus on their strengths and the positives.”
This supported housing scheme is for people aged 16 to 21 who have a medium-to-high support need. Many of them have recently left care or experienced homelessness. By providing a safe place to live and tailored support, we help up to 25 young people at a time improve their confidence, independence and wellbeing, so they can eventually move into a longer-term home and a brighter future.