December 25? it will be business as usual for us - meet the Christmas Day workers

Bournemouth Echo: Nikki Honer and Adam Keen of Morebus Nikki Honer and Adam Keen of Morebus

The bus driver

For the first time in Dorset, bus drivers will form part of the Christmas day workforce. Morebus has just announced they will be running a new service on Christmas Day, reaching the Royal Bournemouth Hospital from Poole, via Poole Hospital, on their M1 service between 9am and 8pm. Drivers have been asked to volunteer to take the wheel on Christmas day so that those with families have a choice of working or enjoying the special day with their children and loved ones.

Boxing Day and New Year’s Day will also see more of their fleet on the roads. It will be the most extensive seasonal services offered by morebus and Wilts & Dorset ever. morebus.co.uk or call 0845 072 7093.

The charity support worker

Dorset disability charity Diverse Abilities Plus has a whole team of staff who will be spending time with some of the adults with learning disabilities the charity supports on Christmas Day.

The organisation’s Supported Living service allows service users to live in their own, adapted homes 24/7 throughout the year, and December 25 is no different.

Natalie Watkins will be supporting a client who has invited some friends to his home for Christmas lunch.

Natalie, 19, said: “They’re coming over for Christmas lunch and to open a couple of presents and spend some time with each other. They love to help in the kitchen with what they can. I love the people that I work with and it’s nice because we all have our families, so it’s nice to support someone else in being able to have that. It’s a really nice way to spend Christmas Day.”

Danielle Watson, 23, will be helping cook Christmas dinner with her client Simon, who has invited his parents for the day.

She said: “He’s quite happy to get involved in making dinner, so it will be nice and festive. It makes for a nice Christmas, it’s a nice atmosphere.”

The homeless manager

Sarah Ward is the homeless and substance misuse development manager for social welfare organisation BCHA. She always does a shift at Christmas, and is responsible for services which deliver support to people who are homeless, specifically those who are street homeless.

“For them it can be a very tough time of year,” she said. “There’s so much emphasis about people being this perfect family unit and when you are totally excluded from that and out in the cold, emotionally and physically, the pressure just makes it worse.

“We try and recognise that and make sure everything isn’t too in your face and hi-de-hi but give them an opportunity to celebrate Christmas in a good way.”

An all-day rolling Christmas buffet is held at Bournemouth’s St Paul’s shelter for any service-user who turns up, as well as the shelter’s 40 residents who will have woken up to a stocking full of little gifts.

Residents get a full English breakfast and the chance to relax in the lounge, taking in the afternoon movie and the Queen’s Speech, as well as playing board games. The day wouldn’t be possible without sponsorship and fund-raising from businesses, as well as the army of volunteers who help.

“Being involved in this way really makes Christmas mean something,” says Sarah.

The Samaritans

Like many branches, Bournemouth Samaritans will be available to support callers over Christmas.

The charity’s helpline will be open all day Christmas Eve, and then from 6am to 2am Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Dr Andrew Mayers, patron for Bournemouth and District Samaritans, said: “Crucially, we are ‘on-call’ during what can be the most lonely and desperate moments of the Christmas period. We are grateful to all of our volunteers for the time they give. Some volunteers feel especially motivated to work at Christmas, as we know that this is when we receive some of the most desperate calls.

“It can be rewarding, but it is often challenging and distressing for them. “Volunteers hear some of the saddest stories, which can be very chastening. “We have support networks to make sure that our volunteers have an opportunity to share their distress with a colleague and/or mentor.”

Anyone in need of help can call the Samaritans on 08457 909090, or email jo@samaritans.org. All calls are confidential.

The animal charity

With so many abandoned and neglected animals in desperate need of a home, the RSPCA centre in Ashley Heath is preparing for a busy Christmas.

Deputy manager Gaynor Cannings will be working on Christmas Day along with six other dedicated staff members at the shelter.

She said: “Cruelty and neglect of animals never stops at any point during the year, so we will have a number of carers working at the shelter throughout the Christmas period. We need to be on hand to help animals in need 24/7 and there will be a number of inspectors patrolling. We get a similar number of calls during Christmas as with any other time of year even though most people are busy celebrating.”

Gaynor lives with her terrier Rhaps – short for Rhapsody – and several rescued rabbits.

“I have been working with animals all my life, so I am used to working unsociable hours. As my family don’t live in this area I don’t mind working over Christmas too much.”

The Ashley Heath Rescue Centre currently looks after 123 animals including dogs, cats, rabbits, chinchillas, guinea pigs and two retired horses.

Comments (7)

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12:49pm Sun 8 Dec 13

nuttievicki says...

At our hotel we are splitting the day by working 4 hours each, which is not that bad, its really great that you are doing this. No-one should be alone at christmas.
At our hotel we are splitting the day by working 4 hours each, which is not that bad, its really great that you are doing this. No-one should be alone at christmas. nuttievicki

12:55pm Sun 8 Dec 13

BmthNewshound says...

Well Done Morebus for running buses to Bournemouth & Poole hospitals on Christmas day. Not everyone has a car or can afford a taxi. I'm sure both visitors and staff will appreciate this gesture.
Well Done Morebus for running buses to Bournemouth & Poole hospitals on Christmas day. Not everyone has a car or can afford a taxi. I'm sure both visitors and staff will appreciate this gesture. BmthNewshound

8:28pm Sun 8 Dec 13

misplacedspaniard says...

Christmas Day is becoming less and less of a public holiday. Soon it'll be another day.

Shame really when you toil long hours then are made to work on precious family time.
Christmas Day is becoming less and less of a public holiday. Soon it'll be another day. Shame really when you toil long hours then are made to work on precious family time. misplacedspaniard

8:29pm Sun 8 Dec 13

misplacedspaniard says...

BmthNewshound wrote:
Well Done Morebus for running buses to Bournemouth & Poole hospitals on Christmas day. Not everyone has a car or can afford a taxi. I'm sure both visitors and staff will appreciate this gesture.
I think there is only one driver working the whole day
[quote][p][bold]BmthNewshound[/bold] wrote: Well Done Morebus for running buses to Bournemouth & Poole hospitals on Christmas day. Not everyone has a car or can afford a taxi. I'm sure both visitors and staff will appreciate this gesture.[/p][/quote]I think there is only one driver working the whole day misplacedspaniard

9:59pm Sun 8 Dec 13

Turtlebay says...

As a plumber's merchant we have been told by the bosses that we must be 'on call' on both Christmas day and Boxing Day.

Greedy bosses themselves of course won't!
As a plumber's merchant we have been told by the bosses that we must be 'on call' on both Christmas day and Boxing Day. Greedy bosses themselves of course won't! Turtlebay

10:49pm Sun 8 Dec 13

60plus says...

What about all the staff at the hospital it's another working day for them they also have to work New Year's Eve
What about all the staff at the hospital it's another working day for them they also have to work New Year's Eve 60plus

10:36am Mon 9 Dec 13

TheDistrict says...

Well done Morebus, at least those without their own transport will reach their loved ones in either hospital of the Christmas period. Taxis will charge the earth over the period, which will not be afforded by many.

We must also think of our service men and women serving in War Theatres, and on stations around the world. Having been a service man, and served many Christmas's away from home, I deeply know how they feel at this time of year.

Merry Christmas to all Servicmen and Women, and to all who are working over the Christmas period. Well done.
Well done Morebus, at least those without their own transport will reach their loved ones in either hospital of the Christmas period. Taxis will charge the earth over the period, which will not be afforded by many. We must also think of our service men and women serving in War Theatres, and on stations around the world. Having been a service man, and served many Christmas's away from home, I deeply know how they feel at this time of year. Merry Christmas to all Servicmen and Women, and to all who are working over the Christmas period. Well done. TheDistrict

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