TWENTY children are preparing to celebrate Christmas Day in Edel House refuge this year as staff endeavour to make the day as special as possible for families.
This will be the first Christmas for staff in their new building, which is currently in phase one of its development stage. Work on phase two of the project is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2022. The two new buildings will be linked by corridors and incorporate a garden as well as accommodation and office space.
The refuge is also accommodating 17 single adults aside from the 10 families staying at the facility this Christmas.
Entertainment company Socially Santa has teamed up with the charity to provide a Christmas experience for children in emergency accommodation.
Edel House manager Colette Foster said Santa will be visiting children at the organisation this week. While St Nick won’t be paying an extended visit on Christmas Day, she assured that he will be leaving gifts to provide some much-needed cheer for children.
Colette said that this is an entirely different Christmas to any they have experienced before.
“We’ll be welcoming Santa here for the children. People have a lot more space. Residents tend to keep to themselves more than they would have in the old building. This is a good thing as people would have struggled with isolation before. Now, it’s a lot more like having your own home.”
Colette said that Christmas dinner is always a special time at the centre.
“This year, we had a house meeting to decide what people wanted to do for Christmas and it was agreed that we would have a communal dinner to ensure that nobody would be left out.”
The community has been rallying to make sure every child in Edel House and emergency accommodation settings can enjoy Christmas.
“The Briar Rose on Douglas Rd will be taking care of Christmas dinner this year. We’ve also been gifted free pantomime tickets for the children which they’ll be going to see in January. The children here are all making cards and taking parts in arts and craft as the build-up to Christmas continues. People have always been very good to us.”
She said that single women in particular are struggling as a result of the accommodation crisis.
“A lot of single women have found it very difficult to secure HAP accommodation. This is very challenging in the private market.
“Everyone craves their own home and security and we hope that happens for as many people in Edel House as possible in time for Christmas.”
To make a donation to the charity this Christmas visit www.goodshepherdcork.ie.