#BestWarwickshireChristmas: A time for giving

Christmas can be a joyous time for many, but a lot of people struggle this time of year. Make sure you check on your elderly relatives, neighbours, and anyone in need of a helping hand, you could make their day.

Time to volunteer: Now is a good time to embrace the spirit of the season and do something for others. Volunteering is a great way of giving something back to your community, it also gives you the chance to meet people, improve your health and skillsets. Big White Wall has an online community dedicated to sharing and supporting others, visit bigwhitewall.com to find out more.

Think about others: While most of us settle down with our families this Christmas, remember those rough sleepers who are alone on the streets.  For many homeless people this festive season a cold winter lies ahead but there are ways that we can all help now and throughout the year ahead. Visit: https://www.crisis.org.uk/ to find out how you can get involved and help a homeless person this Christmas.

Show appreciation this Christmas: Christmas gives us a chance to reflect on the people that make a difference in our lives.  One of the biggest thank you goes to our carers for their dedication to caring for others.  One in ten Warwickshire residents (around 60,000) are caring for family, loved ones or friends who could not cope without their help. Visit: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/carers to find out more.

A time for caring: Christmas is a time for celebration with family and friends but for people struggling with life, feelings of loneliness can intensify. If you or someone you know finds this time of year tough visit: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters for advice and support on mental wellbeing, anxiety, and stress. Or visit https://news.warwickshire.gov.uk/blog/2019/09/06/warwickshire-safe-havens/ to find out more about Warwickshire Safe Havens who offer out-of-hours mental health support over the phone, by text or face-to-face to anyone aged 16+ in the Warwickshire area, based at two locations in Nuneaton and Leamington Spa. No appointment or referral is needed to visit a Safe Haven, people can walk in any time during opening hours and carers and family members are also welcome. Whatever the festive season means to you, it can be a time of heightened emotions for many. Excitement and anxiety, joy and sadness, hope and despair, intimacy and loneliness – we can go on a rollercoaster of emotions. If you’re struggling, for information and advice visit https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/ Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 50 so if you know someone who might be finding the festive season difficult make a point of talking more, offer help and support and, most importantly, be a good listener. This Christmas, you could save a life by taking the free online prevention training here: https://www.zerosuicidealliance.com/

Finally – choose love this Christmas: Remember this festive season, there is no place for Hate Crime in our communities. Never tolerate it, always report it: https://www.reporthatenow.com