Tree of Light Campaign Launch
A CHARITY dedicated to helping eradicate loneliness in Southampton has unveiled its 11th Tree of Light campaign this month with more trees than before planned for across the city (November 2019). The campaign, which this year includes a trio of trees, will be officially launched by the Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Peter Baillie, on Wednesday, December 4.
Manager at Communicare, Annie Clewlow said: “This year we have three festive trees in different locations in the city, which will be covered with hundreds of twinkling, sponsored lights to commemorate loved ones, and we’re delighted the Mayor has invited us to host our official 2019 launch in his Parlour at the Civic Centre. The evening, which starts at 5pm, will include light festive refreshments and carol singing led by a choir of young people from Southampton Children’s Hospital. It’s free for anyone to attend but, as space is limited, this is a ticket only event.
“We also have a light-up event before this on Sunday, December 1 at St Marks Church on Archers Road. Anyone who wishes to attend is invited to join us and Father Christmas for crafting and carol singing from 4pm. The Tree of Light will be switched on by the Mayor at around 5.30pm. This event is also free. Booking is not required.
“Then on Saturday, December 7, the Mayor will flick the switch on our third and final tree in Woolston Millennium Garden.” The switch on at 4.45pm will be preceded by Christmas carols under the tree from 4.30pm led by Rising Stars Choir. Everyone is welcome to attend. There will also be a children’s lantern parade led by Crazy M. No booking required.
The idea for the Tree of Light campaign goes back to 1995, when Vicar Paul Firmin at PearTree Church in Southampton, introduced the first tree, borrowed from an idea he picked up from South Africa and first used in Shrewsbury.
Last year more than 140 lights were sponsored in memory of lost loved ones in Southampton and the campaign raises up to £2,000 each year to support the charity’s work in the city. This year by having three trees, including ones in the west and centre of Southampton, Communicare hopes to involve a wider group of people.
“Our campaign allows everyone in the city to remember a lost loved-one at Christmas, as well as supporting our charity, which helps befriend people city-wide. Loneliness and isolation are becoming more and more of a problem for people of all ages. Along with our band of Communiteers, who give their time and support on a voluntary basis, we’re working hard to eradicate what has been dubbed society’s ‘silent epidemic’ through our various Good Neighbour initiatives.
“We’re hoping, once again this year, that lots of people will join us for our various celebratory Tree of Light evenings. Events like these represent a chance for people to get together and to remember loved ones who are no longer with us or to recognise special causes. It is also an opportunity for anyone who wishes to support us to make a donation, so we can continue to help people who would like to see a friendly face on a regular basis for a natter or to assist them with their shopping and other activities.
“The events are open to anyone who wishes to attend. Those who can sponsor a light, for a suggested minimum donation of £7, in memory of a loved one or special cause are invited to get in touch with us no later than the day before the event they wish to have their light featured at.”
Donations can be sent via Communicare’s Facebook donation page https://www.facebook.com/donate/389381855318842/ or a cheque made payable to Communicare in Southampton can be sent to: Communicare in Southampton, VoluntaryAction Centre, Kingsland Square, St. Mary’s, Southampton, SO14 1NW. BACS payments can be made to: Communicare in Southampton, sort code: 08-92-99, account no: 65819100
“By supporting us, you are helping provide services that will help combat loneliness city- wide, which is particularly poignant at Christmas-time, but prevalent all year round. Anyone who wishes to also receive a remembrance star for their own Christmas tree at home, should send us a stamped addressed envelope (SAE) to our address above along with their donation.
“Photographs, short poems/verses and tributes can be sent to us too, along with remembered names, which will be made into a memorial book by us for viewing in 2020.” Any photographs, short poems/verses and tributes should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, posted to the address above or dropped in to one of Communicare’s offices by December 6, 2019. Photographs can be returned if they are accompanied by a SAE.
“We’d love for people in the city to join us for our various Tree of Light switch-ons. They promise to be celebratory events and bright beacons against loneliness in our city. Everyone is welcome, regardless of whether they make a donation or not. We’re very grateful to the Mayor, who has selected us as one of his charities for his mayoral year, and Woolston Millennium Garden, Spectrum Signs and Balfour Beatty for their on-going support in promoting and running the event again this year. It’s hugely important in our annual fundraising and social calendar.”
Communicare is a friendly, neighbourhood charity that enriches the lives of lonely and isolated people in and around Southampton.
“Our Good Neighbours’ Network supports nearly 400 individuals/families annually, covering more than 2,300 tasks including one-to-one befriending, transport to activities such as the regular lunch clubs and tea parties we host and shopping for, or with, those we help. All the assistance we offer is free to users, although beneficiaries are invited to make a donation if they are able, and Communiteers are offered expenses.
“All the funds raised for the Tree of Light will go towards our Good Neighbours network, which extends a helping hand to members of the community in our city experiencing challenging circumstances. We are here to help people live, rather than exist. This is more than just a fundraiser for us, as our Tree of Light provides a valuable public service for those who wish to remember and include those they have lost in their Christmas giving.”
The Tree of Light campaign will be officially launched by the Mayor of Southampton, Cllr Baillie, in his Parlour at the Civic Centre on Wednesday, December 4 at 5pm. Booking is required via Communicare to attend this event.
A light-up event will also take place on Sunday, December 1 at St Marks Church on Archers Road from 4pm and with the grand switch on at 5.30pm. This event is free, no booking required.
Then the Mayor will flick the switch on Communicare’s festive tree at 4.45pm on Saturday, December 7 in Woolston Millennium Garden. The switch on will be preceded by Christmas carols under the tree from 4pm led by Rising Stars Choir. This event is free, no booking required.
For further details, please call Communicare on 023 8021 6023, visit www.communicareinsouthampton.org.uk or follow the charity on Twitter at @Communicare_SO or log on to www.facebook.com/CommunicareInSouthampton.