Monday, 10 December 2012

Humbled


Something a little different for me today.  Along with some work colleagues, I visited a local women's refuge which provides support, shelter, care and assistance to women who are victims of domestic violence.  They had requested some assistance with making their premises suitably festive for their service users.  We had collected lots and lots of unwanted decorations, tinsel, trees, fairy lights and ornaments over the last couple of weeks, and went to work to "christmassify" (!) the rooms in question.  We managed to transform the rooms with lots of sparkle and fairy dust, and hopefully this will bring a little cheer to the women and children using the centre.  

We chatted to some of the staff and it was clear that they were really dedicated to and justifiably proud of their cause.  We were told that they had around 50 women who were currently receiving their assistance, along with around 100 children.  The centre had collected donations of toys, and these would be made available for the Mums to come to choose, wrap and which would then be delivered to them by the refuge workers on Christmas eve so that the children would not suspect a thing.  What a wonderful thing to do.  

Whilst I was there I was intrigued to see some of the art work created by the service users.   They had a wonderful 'wishing tree' made simply from wire and wrapped in knitting yarn, hung with messages and wishes.  You will appreciate that I didn't take any photographs but there were some very poignant messages I can assure you and they touched me greatly.  

The refuge expects to be at it's busiest over the coming weeks as the stresses of the festive period take their toll.  

We walked away from the centre today with the good wishes and thanks of the refuge staff  ringing in our ears.   I felt a little bit fake really.  We had spent a pleasant four hours away from mundane desk jobs.  My colleagues and I had a giggle, wearing silly reindeer antlers and drinking coffee.  All we had done, really, was to hang up a few strands of tinsel and decorate a couple of trees but they were so grateful to us for doing it.  It isn't much to do in the grand scheme of things is it?  

We were very quiet on the drive back to the office; each of us, I think, considering what we had and what we could be thankful for.   


5 comments:

  1. We never really see or want to see the dark side of life. However, what you witnessed was a positive as these women have left their abusers (some don't) and are on their way to making life better for themselves nd their children.

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  2. It's a scandal that such places need to exist, but seeing as they do, well done for making their lives just that little bit more tolerable.

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  3. My friend used to work at such a place as this Kim (shut down now because of lack of funds and moved 100 miles away!) and I visited on an open day. I felt like you, everything was cheerful with coffee and cakes but going into some of the 'classrooms' and seeing the comments written on the blackboard really made me humble. We really can't imagine, nor do we want to, know what goes on behind closed doors. These women and children (and sometimes men) have to live this life day after day, and thank God for centres such as this. Thanks for raising awareness, Kim ... a moving post.
    Claire xx

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  4. Well done you girls for helping out with the decorations. Here in Glastonbury we do shoe-boxes (or care parcels) for the ladies and the children. I had not heard of it til I moved here.
    As you say, it makes you grateful for what you have.

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  5. Just think of the joy your few hours will bring Kim - well done to you all.
    xx

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