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Communicare considers Tree of Light options for Christmas 2020

A SOUTHAMPTON charity dedicated to helping eradicate loneliness is considering how it will host its Tree of Light fundraiser that would normally take place at locations across the city in December (2020).

The campaign, which last year included a trio of trees and was officially launched in the Mayor’s Parlour, will not be able to go ahead as normal due to COVID-19.

Manager at Communicare, Annie Clewlow said: “Last year we had three festive trees in different locations in the city, including one in the Mayor’s Parlour at the Civic Centre, which were covered with hundreds of twinkling, sponsored lights to commemorate loved ones.

“Each event normally includes the singing of carols, and other seasonal songs, a switch on ceremony and we also invite people along to join in the fun. This year we’re unable to host events and we’re currently wondering what to do. We’re considering holding a virtual switch on and singing session instead and to perhaps have the trees at our various locations city-wide for people to see without formally gathering and celebrating together.”

The idea for the Tree of Light campaign goes back to 1995, when Vicar Paul Firmin at Pear Tree Church in Southampton, introduced the first tree, borrowed from an idea he picked up from South Africa and first used in Shrewsbury.

In 2019 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. Last year by having three trees, including ones in the west and centre of Southampton, Communicare was able to involve a wider group of people in its celebrations.

“Our campaign allows everyone in the city and beyond to remember a lost loved-one at Christmas, as well as supporting our charity, which helps befriend people city-wide.”

Communicare provides services that enrich the lives of lonely and isolated people in and around Southampton. These services are staffed by its committed, kind-hearted Communiteers, who volunteer and give their time freely.

“They act as good neighbours, generously making regular befriending telephone calls, safely driving people to urgent medical appointments and doing shopping for those unable to leave home at the moment, as well as providing other practical and emotional support.

“Loneliness and isolation are becoming more and more of a problem for people of all ages, especially this year, when we’ve been unable to host the social events that we’d normally have.

“Along with our band of Communiteers, we’re working hard to eradicate what has been dubbed society’s ‘silent epidemic’ through our various Good Neighbour initiatives.”

The charity’s Good Neighbours’ Network is currently supporting more than 560 individuals/families through tasks including one-to-one befriending and transport for essential appointments and assistance with shopping.

Before the lockdown the charity also provided transport to social activities, such as the regular lunch clubs and tea parties it hosted.

The Tree of Light events normally 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 the charity to make a donation, so we can continue to help people who would need our support.

If you would like to sponsor a light this year, please click on the form (left) to download it and follow the instructions.

For further details, please call Communicare on 023 8021 6023, visit or follow the charity on Twitter at @Communicare_SO or log on to

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