- 08 January 2021
- 7 min read
How The Care Community Came Together For Christmas
Keynote speaker, and British Care Award Winner, Ian Donaghy, gives the highlights of The Big Christmas Care Singalong and outlines how the care community came together for the global Christmas event.
Topics covered in this article
Christmas Was Going To Be Cancelled
Christmas was going to be cancelled.
Everything else had.
As if 2020 hadn’t thrown enough at us we were told “T’wasn’t the season to be jolly”.
No carol services.
We needed to do something different and fast.
It was November.
People were apart.
Everyone saw the word ‘Vaccine’ fill newspaper headlines focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel but the reality was we were still well and truly still IN the tunnel.
Afterall we are ALL children with different days of birth.
Something Original for the Christmas Season
So much of the Christmas television schedule was going to be repeats as people have been unable to create original programmes safely this year.
So we created the Big Christmas Care Singalong created BY people who live and work in care FOR people who live and work in care.
Reaching out on social media in November a name and a logo were designed and we took over a freezing cold warehouse outside of Leeds with a group of singers who all had a connection to care.
Graham Hodge had worked with young people with learning difficulties, Jessa Liversidge who runs Singing for All, Samantha Holden a soprano from Teesside has worked as an activities co-ordinator in a care home, Jess Steel who is a hairdresser particularly popular with older clients who love her personable approach.
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What do YOU think?
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The Plan Was To Bring Care Homes Together
The event was hosted and produced by dementia campaigner and author of A Pocketful of Kindness, The Missing Peace and Dear Dementia Big Ian Donaghy who welcomed contributors from Bradford, Brighton, Brentford and Brisbane.
Alana Parker and Nick Way helped us link up with Australia to have people contribute.
The plan was to bring care homes together and home care from all over the UK and Australia to create engaging entertaining content for an hour long celebration of those living and working in care.
People shared their favourite Christmas memories and performed their favourite festive favourites with varying degrees of success.
A version of the Twelve Days of Christmas was like a cuddle the length of the Equator.
The project a cross between a Christmas concert, Gogglebox and You’ve been framed was sponsored by everyLIFE technologies.
Robin Batchelor CEO of everyLIFE got behind the project as soon as it was announced.
“We wanted to be part of such an invaluable event to lift everyone at the end of a horrific year.”
The hour long special also included a Jackanory style story called INVISIBLE about the importance of community narrated by BBC Radio’s Ian McMillan and illustrated by award-winning Private Eye Cartoonist Tony Husband.
In-keeping with the challenges of the past twelve months just as the team were approaching the finish line our editor came down with complications from catching Covid 19 whilst working as a camera operator on another film in York.
His kidneys stopped working and was hospitalised so they had to go to an emergency plan B.
This meant that they needed to complete the edits with a raft of strangers who came to the rescue and quickly became friends.
The Feedback Was Beautiful Beyond Any Expectation
People were shocked at how professional it was.
People enjoyed it in care homes, supported living, in homes of people receiving home care, in hospitals and hospices all over the world.
Many venues made an event of it enjoying it on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day (following the Queen’s Speech) and on Boxing Day but we received feedback right up to New Year’s Eve coming from the US, Canada, France and Brazil!
“I watched this with my little boy aged 6 and we laughed, sang and cried.
Christmas is definitely NOT cancelled.”- Samuel Barrington of Care Improvement Associates in Scarborough.
“Our residents adored seeing themselves on the screen as we laughed and sang along.” – Mawson Chipchase, Majesticare.
Covid 19 – Kindness 20
An exhausted Big Ian commented “This took so much work to pull this together with so many restrictions in place but was worth every second for the impact it has made. One silver lining on the dark cloud of 2020 is that we have embraced technology so much more and have advanced five years in a year out of pure necessity. Without this we couldn’t have created this Yuletide Login!”
This was the shot in the arm we all needed before the vaccines arrived.
Once again the world of care illustrated how they are experts in doing the same differently-in problem-solving-in thriving not just surviving – with their ongoing resilience and the power of creativity to put smiles on the faces who matter most.
After an hour of Karaoke style singalongs with words on the screen, Christmas memories, shared experiences, funny oneliners and dreadful singing the shown ended with an international “THANK YOU” to everyone working in care during 2020.
From respected figures in the world of social care such as Ros Heath, Queen’s Nurse Anita Astle, Vic Rayner Chief Executive of NCF, Avnish Goyal and Issac Theopholis as Big Ian concluded “Care does not know boundaries.
Care does not know boundaries.
Care brings people together.
This could not have happened without amazing people.
At the end of this challenging year the result reads Covid 19 Kindness 20.
The Big Christmas Care Singalong will return in 2021 and everyone is invited.
Let me know in the comments your thoughts on The Big Christmas Care Singalong, and if you're planning on joining us next year - let's chat there!
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