Me being me, I just couldn’t see anybody be on their own at Christmas.
Say hello to Lesley, one of our amazing support workers.
On Christmas Day last year, Lesley gave up her own plans to see her family and drove over 100 miles to make sure Emma – who we supported at home near Manchester - wasn’t left alone and had a Christmas to remember.
“Emma’s housemates had already gone home to see their families” remembers Lesley. “But her mum phoned us to say that she wasn’t feeling well early on Christmas morning, and in the middle of Covid she thought it was safer if Emma didn’t go home.
“Emma was really upset, there was no one due to be in the house, and she knew that I was going to was going to see my family. You could see in her face just how upset she was, she hadn’t seen her mum all year.
“There was no question about it, I just said ‘I’ll stay with her.’”
Lesley leapt into action to make sure Emma had the Christmas she had been looking forward to, giving up her own plans in the process.
“My nephew had invited me to Christmas dinner. I rang him straight away and explained the situation, and asked if there was any chance of coming over to collect a Christmas dinner for me and Emma.
“He said ‘Of course, there’s plenty!’ and all we needed to do was bring some plates and bowls, and he’d plate up a dinner for us both to take back home.
Lesley soon set off on the long trip to make sure Emma could have a proper Christmas dinner.
“Emma likes going in the car with me, which is good because my nephew lives about 50 miles away from where we were!” said Lesley.
“We listened to music all the way, Christmas songs and pop music, that kind of thing, Emma loves it. I always sing in the car! She thinks it’s funny, so I made it a happy trip.”
“She’d been so quiet before, but she was laughing all the way over and I could see she was feeling more comfy with what was happening, her spirits were lifted so much from where they were that morning.
Lesley collected the Christmas dinners and puddings from her nephew, storing them safely wrapped on plates in the boot of the car, and made the return journey home where she warmed them up with some gravy and settled in for Christmas with Emma.
“As a support worker, you’re somebody to talk to, someone to offer comfort, someone’s shoulder to lean on. And that day, I was that person for her.
“I would say I’ve got a big heart, and I lost both my parents at Christmas time, I’ve not long lost my mum, so I put myself into Emma’s shoes, I’ve been there, I’ve lived without my parents at Christmas, so I know how it feels. And you know what, once it sunk in that I wasn’t seeing my family I was fine about it. I wanted to make the best of the situation for Emma.
“Looking back, sitting there, eating dinner and watching a movie afterwards – it was Home Alone, funnily enough! – is a great memory. There’s no chance I would leave anybody on their own at Christmas.”
Lesley gave Emma the gift of hope. Could you do the same for someone this Christmas?