New Directions Social Care

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Got any spare tinsel? A blog by Sarah Blackmore

By my estimation there are about 32 days until we all sit around our beautifully decorated tables and break bread with our families and loved ones. 32 days of preparation, over indulgence and a little bit of spirited ‘cheer’ before Christmas greets us for another year.

I am not one to lament, in fact I am pretty ‘spirited’ the whole year around. I am grateful for my family, my job, my friends and the experiences life affords me, no matter how big or small. I’ve grown up surrounded by love and encouragement and that’s signposted me into my 2016 ‘happy place’.

Not wanting to sound like a person of the cloth asking his or her congregation to review the past 12 months and look for good, and identify where we might help those less fortunate…but the New Directions Social Care Team did just that recently and we were pleasantly surprised at what we discovered.

Whilst it is true we work in an extremely competitive capitalist market and recruitment gets a bad press from time-to-time, we are also a team with a heart, a blooming big heart.
You won’t ever find us in the high streets of your towns and cities waiting to pounce with a clipboard to sign you up to a monthly charitable fee…but in our own quiet and unassuming way, we are taking small steps to make a difference.

In 2015 we opened our Bristol office – a city known for its huge cultural heritage – a big melting pot of diversity, difference and opportunity. We have been overwhelmed by our own welcome into the community there, the South West should be proud of its own spirit. However, working in some of the volatile and vulnerable corners of the community as we do…we have also had our eyes opened to the suffering and poverty that still exists – even in this seemingly upwardly mobile city.

Our branch lead for Bristol – the formidable Kirsty Knowles has chosen to work with St Mungo’s this festive period in supporting one of their homeless shelters. We are working with a unit that will care for 21 female residents this Christmas, who for whatever reason have found themselves in a desperate situation. Kirsty – in her gritty determined way has managed to recruit over 30 of our staff to create a ‘shoebox’ of toiletries and other luxury items to gift the clients of the shelter in December. It’s a small offering, but one we hope might make their time there a little more comfortable.

Kirsty is also working with the team at the shelter to make it more festive – to decorate it and give it a bit of a festive feel. Unfortunately last week we had news that the business that was originally going to supply some basic decorations had withdrawn their offer of support. So now we are extending an appeal – have you got any spare Christmas decorations? Could we take charge of the tinsel and trees that no longer befit your homes or offices? We’ll collect, we’ll give you a shout out on our (very popular) social media accounts and we will be thankful on behalf of those at the shelter this Christmas.

We are remaining positive – our own team have started to bring in baubles and bits, we just want a few extras to try and add a bit of Christmas sparkle in what might be a darker year for the residents than they have been used to…

Get in touch with our team – Kirsty.knowles@new-directions.co.uk if you can help. Any small donation is going to make a difference…and I know I said we don’t stand in your town centres with a clipboard, but we do feel we have to use our voice here today to help make a small change 

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