Charity Christmas Tree Festival at Princesshay

Service user and support worker smile while making Christmas crafts for charity tree.

In recent years, we’ve taken part in several of the Princesshay Exeter Charity Christmas Tree Festivals – it’s become a bit of a Step One Christmas tradition. Each year a selection of local charities are invited to decorate their own Christmas tree to highlight the work they do to Exeter’s Christmas shoppers. All the Christmas trees are displayed next to Exeter’s historic Roman wall near the Princesshay shopping centre.

In the years that Step One has been chosen to take part, the event is celebrated throughout the organisation. Our teams at Cypress and Granvue, and our community support teams organise Christmas craft afternoons for the people we work with to make decorations for the tree. Both staff and people using our services then decorate the tree with the handmade decorations.

When the news came through that the Christmas Tree Festival may not be taking place this year due to Covid-19, we desperately hoped we would not lose another event to the pandemic. Our teams decided to continue with the Christmas craft afternoons as it is a great activity that everyone can get involved in. As so many people have had such a difficult year, we decided our decorations would offer messages of support to visitors to the tree.

Step One Charity service user hanging decorations on Christmas tree in Princesshay Exeter

Kelly Anne, Occupational Therapist at Cypress said:

“We decided that as the tree is on public display, it would be nice to write some messages for people to read on the bunting – with some inspiration, quotes and information about mental health support services.

What’s nice about this activity is that we can go and decorate the tree with the decorations we’ve made, which really showcases the creativity here, as well as passing on some nice messages for people to read.”

Thankfully, Princesshay Exeter decided to proceed with the Charity Christmas Tree Festival, and although we’ve had to do things a little bit differently this year, our beautifully decorated tree stands proudly among the row of trees on display. Why not pop along and have a look!

The Christmas trees will be displayed until the beginning of January.

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