For many of the people who attend Space2Create the Christmas period is extremely tough. It brings with it a whole host of added pressure at a time in people lives when their ability to cope with such things is very low. In the current climate of poor support by the state it also means that more people and families will be getting more distressed as Christmas approaches than for a long while.
If you are coping with a long term illness, mental or physical, then the Christmas season can be very difficult. It’s the pressure of being more sociable, expectations of being with family or that you are happy (or should be). You should, apparently, be off to a Christmas party with your mates and off doing your Christmas shopping and above all the pressure of all that advertising with lots of happy people having a good time. This is so difficult for those who are struggling. It adds an extra burden of expectation on them and it can literally drive some into more despair.
So when you encounter somebody who doesn’t respond to your Christmas cheer maybe stop and think why. It often is not because they are miserable buggers. They may well be really struggling. Maybe just a smile is enough. Maybe they might want to chat and for you to listen. Things like that can, in some cases, make the difference between a person slipping quietly and unnoticed into suicide or having somebody listen enough for them to keep going. We make assumptions at Christmas.
The individual in desperate need of help can slip by unnoticed. The thing with Christmas is everything shuts down. Services get reduced and people who are vulnerable very easily slip through the underfunded system. It is not just health related. Of course there are increasing numbers of families struggling and those being driven onto the streets by housing, benefit and social care systems now designed to victimize the people it was supposed to help.
So please. over the festive season, think how you treat others. If everyone in a good position for Christmas can do one small kindness for someone who is not then the whole Christmas can be better for everyone. S2C is opening more this year over Christmas where in the past we have closed. It’s a little, means that people who are lonely or struggling can be with supportive and caring people for some of the time. Manna House always support the homeless amazingly at this time of year with the Winter Night Shelter and Christmas away days. The Kendal’s Peoples Volunteer Café are open and serving Christmas Dinner on Christmas Day this year. It is there for those who maybe can’t afford to have a special dinner or why not just go and support it even if you don’t. They need your support financially, in food donations, presents and just to be there for those who are less fortunate.
Make that extra Christmas present of time, money, donations or just empathy or listening. It will be the best Christmas present you give this year.
This weeks S2C artwork…..