Hello and welcome to the second day of blogmas! I was so excited when a colleague asked if anyone would be interested in taking a lead on organising an entry for the Christmas Tree Festival at St Mary’s Parish Church in Ross on Wye. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity and have officially been crowned ‘Miss Christmas’ in work!
If you don’t already know, I now work for West Mercia Women’s Aid and am loving every minute of it! We felt it was important for us to use any opportunity available to raise awareness of our services in the local community and this seemed like a fab project to do just that.
As a feminist organisation, we decided on a colour scheme based on the colours of the suffragettes which are purple, green and white to remember to sacrifices women have made in the past. We then adapted an idea I came up with last year for student services at the University of Worcester by making hand made star to decorations ‘shine a light’ on domestic abuse against women and children. A shout out has be to given to my incredible nanna who made all of the stars for the tree with such short notice – she is an absolute gem!
We also got service users to help me to write quotes and messages on Christmas tags that would be displayed on the tree and hopefully reach out to women in need who come across the tree.
Myself and my colleagues headed to Ross to set up the tree (I am SO proud of myself for driving to a new place with minimal panic) and it was a great way to start my Christmas celebrations. However, when we got there we realised that the tree that was donated to us was missing the entire middle section! We had to improvise by padding the bottom section and using the lights to secure the top and stop it from falling off.
Despite of a few mishaps, I am really proud of our efforts and think the tree turned out well. We left some leaflets, cards and handouts about our service and the 24 hour helpline number too in hope that they find those who need them. We also had a wander to look at everyone else’s trees and there were so many creative and beautiful entries. A stand out for my was a sustainable tree made by a local nursery – all the decorations were made from recycled materials!
Reaching women and children that are in need is the reason I love my job so much. I think that the fact that I can spend my time supporting women and standing up against domestic violence is invaluable and this festival was just an added extra. Christmas (and any time of the year) can be do frightening and dangerous for those in abusive relationships and I hope that those who can are able to keep themselves and their children safe.
The number for West Mercia Women’s Aid 24 hour helpline is 0800 783 1359 should anyone reading this need it.
Stay safe and happy blogmas everyone,