Why I initiated Richmond’s Christmas Day Dinner – Sian Thomas

Sian Thomas: “I am a nurse who has seen over the years many people who have left care and spend Christmas alone, not because they want to but they have little choice. This has sat so, so unhappily with me and I always knew that the community would want to help if they just knew this was someone’s experience…

“I came across Lemn Sissay around a year ago via his poetry, then I saw him on stage in the Report where his health report from the time he was in care was read out live on stage. I felt absolutely compelled to do something; I picked up his brand new Guide to The Christmas Day Project about 10 times and kept putting it down as it felt just such a huge thing to organise; I kept wanting to be invited onto the project rather than the person initiating.

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“Anyway on the 20 September I decided I would do it, I have met so many new and committed people who want to create a day that is warm, fun, caring and comfortable. There is no pressure on guests to be anything other than what they are on the day; happy, sad, melancholy as we understand that Christmas can evoke emotional feelings in everyone.

“A care leaver has contacted me saying: “Christmas was a terrible time for me when I was young, so just having people around will be a bonus”…. this is not a day of pity but a day to come together as one and enjoy our Christmas Day.”