EVERGREEN LEAVES: Christmas 2022
Welcome to our Christmas Newsletter.
We have an update from our lovely founders Pete and Diane, letting us know about their life in Suffolk and some great pictures from some of our Christmas events that have taken place. It’s been a really busy year this year and so much has been going on. It’s been fantastic to fully open up the social side of Evergreen again and have the opportunities to get together at our events. We’re really pleased to have opened 3 new Elderberries vintage cafes in Bexley this year and one in Dartford (Wilmington). We’ve held 24 Evergreen Friends Together socials in Bexley and 3 Volunteer coffee mornings, 2 with guest speakers and 1 to introduce people to our new offices. We have also introduced 37 clients to a new befriender this year. We launched our long service awards for our volunteers this year and held our first Thanksgiving and Celebration awards event. We hope that this will be an annual event and many more of you will be able to join us so that we can show you how much you are appreciated. We hope you enjoy the newsletter and have a safe and happy Christmas.
Evergreen Friends Together
Tuesday 10th January - 11.30am to 1.30pm
The Yatch, Bexleyheath, DA7 5AE
Evergreen Friends Together
Wednesday 25th January - 11am to 1pm
Every Monday - 10am to 2pm
Belvedere Baptist Church, Nuxley Road, DA17 5JG
Every Monday - 12pm to 3pm
Wilmington Community Church, Broad Lane, DA2 7AQ
Every Tuesday - 10.30am to 1.30pm
Wolsley House, Crayford, DA1 4BE
Every Friday - 2pm to 4pm
Baldwyns Park Baptist Church, Bexley, DA5 2AT
Every Saturday - 10am to 12.30pm
Christchurch, Bexleyheath, DA6 7BT
We’ve been very busy at Evergreen this December with a variety of Christmas events;
On 7th December we held a Friends Together Christmas lunch at the Earl Haig pub. We had a mix of clients, staff and volunteers, who enjoyed a Christmas meal & quiz. Everyone who attended received a Christmas card and small gift from Evergreen.
On 9th December staff and volunteers were invited to join us at the Wilmington office for mince pies and mulled wine. This gave our office staff the opportunity to catch up with our staff and volunteers and thank them for the wonderful work they do for Evergreen.
On 13th December we held 2 events. One at our Elderberries café in Crayford, 22 guests joined us for a 2 course Christmas lunch. The second event held was at The Kings Arms, Bexleyheath, a 2 course Christmas lunch with complementary wine. We held a Facebook fundraising campaign which invited our followers 'to sponsor a lunch for £5 per person'. This was so successful that we managed to meet our target and exceed by a huge £470. Due to this amazing generosity each client received a Christmas hamper.
On 19th December we held a combined Christmas lunch for Belvedere, Baldwyns Park and Christchurch Elderberries, 70 guests joined us at our Belvedere location for a time of celebration. Entertainment, 3 course Christmas menu and a visit from Santa himself! We also held a Christmas lunch at our newest Elderberries in Wilmington, 25 guests attended and enjoyed a 2 course Christmas meal and Christmas themed quiz. One of our volunteers entertained our guests by playing Christmas carols on the Clarinet.
This time we are focusing on one of our longer term volunteers Mary Wallis who has been with us since May 2017. We asked her about her volunteering experience with Evergreen and this is what she told us:
“I joined Evergreen a few years after I retired as I wanted to keep busy and active. I also understood the loneliness and isolation that older people go through and wanted to help. I’ve had a few clients during my time, sadly some of them have passed away which is always sad. I particularly loved being matched with Jack, he was a lovely gentleman who was a mutual Charlton fan. I currently befriend 2 lovely ladies who are both very different but I really enjoy my visits and chats with them (anyone who knows Mary will know that she loves a chat). I really enjoy the social side of Evergreen and as you know I always try to get along to any coffee mornings and am a regular attender at the Blackfen and Bexleyheath Friends Together socials. I enjoy meeting the other volunteers and the clients who attend and I’m always made to feel very welcome by Caroline and Wendy who are lovely I just love being part of Evergreen.”
Thank you Mary, we love having you as part of our Evergreen family.
Did you know...?
In many homes and churches across the world, Advent candles are lit in the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas, with each candle having a special significance. “Advent” relates to the anticipated Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The 4 candles are arranged on a circular wreath, with no beginning or end, reminding us of the eternity of God’s love and a reminder of God’s promise to us of salvation through Christ. The first candle is purple and represents Hope, it is known as the ‘Prophecy candle’ in memory of the Old Testament Prophets who prophesied the birth of Christ. The second candle is also purple and represents Faith, it is known as the ‘Bethlehem candle’ signifying Mary and Joseph’s faithful journey to Bethlehem.
The third candle is pink and is known as the ’Shepherds’ candle’, it represents Joy, reminding us of when the Angels appeared to the shepherds in Bethlehem to bring them “good news of great joy”. The final candle is also purple and represents Peace, it is known as the ‘Angels’ candle’ and reminds us of the angels’ message “Peace on earth, goodwill toward all men”. Sometimes there will be a 5th candle lit on Christmas Day, usually white, known as the ‘Christ candle’ and signifying the purity and love of Jesus. “Again Jesus spoke to them saying ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not
walk in darkness, but will have the light of life' ": John 8:12
Our prayer for you all this Christmas and as we head into a New Year is that you will be blessed with the hope, love, joy and peace of Jesus Christ.
News from Suffolk
Well, Christmas is nearly upon us and another year almost over. Have you noticed how Christmas is the time of year that seems to change peoples’ attitudes towards each other? There is a feeling of joy and happiness that permeates the air and people seem kinder, more giving and happier.
In Luke 2:13-14 it says ‘Suddenly a great company of the Heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising
God and saying ”Glory to God in the highest heaven. And on earth Peace, goodwill toward man”’
As we face the many challenges that 2023 is likely to throw at us, may you all know the Peace of God, the Peace that surpasses all understanding that will guard your hearts and minds…
Here at Evergreen, we hope to bring some Peace of Mind to those we look after, and also their family members who may be struggling with the emotional and physical demands caring for their loved ones may bring. The Peace we bring is one that I hope lasts throughout the year, and not just at Christmas. With over 600 clients on our books, a number that grows daily, the impact we are having on our community is immense. I am so very proud of all our volunteers and staff for your dedication towards your clients, for the
determination you have to make their lives better, and the compassion you show in forming lasting friendships with each and every one of them. You really are all life changers.
Unfortunately with Social Care hitting a real crisis with many not able to access the care they need, we feel that Evergreen cannot just sit back on our achievements so far. Evergreen therefore have big strategies to expand our reach to older lonely people who are desperately in need of the services we don’t provide at this moment in time. These strategies will take careful planning and large investments, but we feel the time is
right to forge ahead and take Evergreen to the next level.
We want Evergreen to be the go to Charity when people need help, and to ensure we are here in years to come, continuing to support the most vulnerable people in our community.
With this in mind, can I ask that you consider a Gift this Christmas, a Gift of Legacy.
When you leave a gift to Evergreen in your will, you will be setting something extraordinary in motion. Your legacy is a gift of friendship, one that will make an important difference in the lives of others who come after you. Your legacy will bring hope, happiness and friendship to those that feel forgotten by society, and help us provide long-term solutions to the issues of elderly care. Your legacy could be the gift of life someone is waiting for.
Maybe you have never thought of leaving a legacy in your will, or maybe you haven’t made a Will yet. Please visit our website where you will find more information on Wills, Legacies and Lasting Powers of Attorney or give us a call at the office on 01322 431765 where someone will be happy to talk with you. We have also partnered with RG Law, a local solicitor who can give you further information and advice and act on your behalf should you wish to proceed.
So this Christmas, as we come together with family and friends, let us share in the love and peace that Christmas brings, let us commit to caring for our neighbours, especially our elderly, and consider leaving that Gift of Legacy to Evergreen, so we can continue to serve our community in the years to come.
Together, we Will make a difference.
May you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Pete & Diane
And so for 2023...
After such a busy and fun packed year, we are very excited to see what will be happening in 2023. Please save the date for the evening of Saturday 4th February when we will be holding our first Quiz night since pre-COVID. More details on that will follow in the New Year.
We will be changing one of our locations for the Evergreen Friends Together and moving from the Earl Haig pub to The Yacht pub in Long Lane. We are very grateful to the Earl Haig for all their support over the years but felt that a fresh new venue may bring new guests to visit. The Yacht has good accessibility for our clients and they are looking forward to welcoming us there once a month.
If you're looking to volunteer for Evergreen in the new year, please click below.
Finally, may we wish you all a very Happy New Year for 2023!