The SWITCH Team had an exciting change of scene yesterday. Usually office based and out and about in the community working with vulnerable adults at risk of homelessness and the homeless, they had the pleasure to partake in the yearly Santas Grotto at the Rainbow Nursery. SWITCH Project Workers,  Jack Houghton and Caroline Frost took on the task of playing santa and elf to hand deliver beautifully selected and wrapped presents to the children attending the pre-school. They were also lucky to be accompanied by a reindeer (Hull CVS staff pug in reindeer clothing).

One may think this is all fun and games, but meeting strange young children when predominantly working with adults can put all kinds of fears in a professional. However, loving a challenge, the SWITCH Team went forward with their heads held high. They donned their outfits with big beaming smiles (and a little fake beard in mouth every time they conversed), sat in the well-made grotto and pressed play on the CD Player to allow christmas feeling to emerge from the soft-play area.

The children were brought over by the Rainbow Nursery staffing team, excited and huddled in a group awaiting their name to be called by our Santa. Most smiled and laughed, struggling to contain their excitement, a couple a little shy until they saw their peers bravely stepping forward. Each had a personal conversation with santa and elf, a positive message and exchange of words with the end resulting in the receiving of a beautifully wrapped gift.

Santa and his elf quickly adapted to their roles, playing their characters to the highest standard. This can be hard for a service user group aged 9 months to 4 years, however they rose and exceeded in the challenge. As the last child walked out with their present under their arm, stroking the reindeer as a final goodbye, the stop button pressed to halt the music, a tear of happiness and sadness was exchanged. Enough spread of christmas cheer for one year, exchanging their outfits back to office wear to ride back on their sleigh and back to reality and passion of working with an older group of service users.

The SWITCH Team have had a hectic but extremely productive 2017. They have used their passion, strong-work ethic and drive to support volunteers and service users that engage with their service at the highest standard. They have seen many challenges throughout the year but risen to all that were within their remit. With this, they wanted to thank the Rainbow Nursery for the invitation to play santa and elf and the opportunity to engage with a different group of individuals. They enjoyed every minute there and every interaction they partook in, a fun and jolly afternoon was had by all.

Merry Christmas and a extremely happy new year from all of the SWITCH Team.