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Wish tree initiative to help vulnerable islanders

Wish tree initiative to help vulnerable islanders

Sunday 01 December 2019

Wish tree initiative to help vulnerable islanders


A new initiative is aiming to make the festive season special for those waking up in hospital, island shelters or alone on Christmas Day - but needs islanders' help.

The CI Co-op has come up with the idea of a 'Christmas Wish Tree' to add joy to the festive season for local women and children currently residing at the Causeway Association after finding themselves homeless, as well as residents of Rosewood House and Clinique Pinel, who are living with dementia and mental health conditions.

Christmas trees have been displayed in both Grand Marchés in St. Helier and St. Peter. Each features gift tags with information about the recipient and a suggested gift.

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Pictured: Christmas trees have been displayed in both Grand Marchés in St. Helier and St. Peter.

The Christmas Wish Tree in Grand Marché St. Peter will display gift tags for the women and children at Causeway. Each recipient was asked what they would like for Christmas, and the Society is inviting islanders to help make their wishes come true.

"The women we house are not as fortunate as others and they don’t have the ability to buy Christmas presents for their children," Orla Nugent, Manager of the Causeway Association, which is currently housing ten families, said.

"The women and children’s home lives have been disrupted and being in a house with people they don’t know can be unsettling for them.

"Christmas can be a hard time for those we house and islanders supporting this campaign and buying gifts for them makes the women and their families realise they are not alone and people are thinking of them."

Christmas wish tree

Pictured: Gift tags display ideas for each recipient.

Gift tags displayed in Grand Marché St. Helier are for islanders who will be spending Christmas at Rosewood House and Clinique Pinel. Gift ideas include socks, pictures for their rooms, a lava lamp, an Elvis CD, perfume and chocolates. 

"Over the festive period the patients and residents on our wards at Clinique Pinel and Rosewood House, situated at St Saviours Hospital, may have their loved ones visiting them," Graham Ogilvie, an Occupational Therapist for the Health Department, said.

"But some do not have this privilege, which means they will not have a gift to open on Christmas morning. Thanks to the Co-op and its Christmas Wish Tree campaign these residents and patients will have something to open on Christmas Day – making them have a day to remember."

Islanders are encouraged to take a gift tag from either Christmas wish tree, buy the relevant gift and drop it back all wrapped to the relevant store before Saturday 14 December. The store will then deliver the gifts to the recipients. 

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Pictured: The initiative aims to make Christmas a little bit more special for residents of Rosewood House and Clinique Pinel as well as the mums and children currently at Causeway.

The Christmas Wish Tree campaign is one of a number of community initiatives the Co-op is running during the festive period. This includes supporting the annual Soup Kitchen in aid of Shelter Trust, inviting school choirs to selected stores, surprising shoppers with random acts of kindness and running the Christmas card recycling scheme. 

"As a community retailer, supporting local good causes is at the heart of what we do every day of the year," Ell Hopton, community manager for the Society, said. "But Christmas is a time when many islanders can feel lonely or isolated, so we’re delighted to be adding a few extra initiatives over the festive period to support those islanders who are less fortunate, and to help spread Christmas cheer to all our customers and members.

"Last year we had a fantastic response to the Christmas Wish Tree campaign, so we’ve expanded the scheme this year to include two groups of deserving local people."

Pictured top: Ell Hopton, Community Manager for the Society and Orla Nugent, Manager of the Causeway Association in Grand Marché St Peter.

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