Christmas can be a difficult time for many people, especially those who are disabled whether that be through a long term sickness, a fluctuating condition, a mental health issue, learning disability or the traditional image of a wheelchair or white stick. For many of us on low incomes buying gifts or travelling to be with loved ones can be impossible, or just practically too exhausting.
Anyone in receipt of benefits will be receiving their annual Christmas bonus soon. Before anyone not in receipt of benefits gets too excited about us 'scrounging types' getting a free, state funded Christmas party this bonus is a one off payment of £10 which has not been increased since it was first introduced. From an initial joke on twitter between @zoesmith, @gentlechaos @Imogen_May @techiebabe and myself the idea of a Cripmas Lunch was born.
We'd like to make sure that for anyone who's alone this Christmas or who needs to spend time with other people in a similar situation that there is an online meeting point where it's easy to gather together to find company, support and hopefully a few laughs. The old BBC Ouch message boards were always busy over Christmas and in recent years other sites disabled people could congregate such as 'yourable' have disappeared leaving a bit of a gap for people to try and find each other. We'll bring you the meeting details as we get more organised but for now there will be a #cripmaslunch tag on twitter so you can search on that and find others. We'll also direct people to particular facebook pages and hopefully a forum venue. People can chat, share music, jokes, find support, whatever they want and we're all looking forward to a fantastic cripmas tale written by @creativecrip
The fantastic Flash Bristow has volunteered to run a Spoonie Secret Santa and all the details are on her blog page here. We're particularly keen for anyone who's isolated to join in, so everyone can receive at least one gift this Christmas and know that someone cares, but it's open to all Spoonies, which means anyone with any kind of sickness, disability, learning disability or mental health problem.
Time is short to participate in the Spoonie Secret Santa because of the last posting dates, but we've set the budget at £5 per gift to try and ensure as many people as possible can afford to take part. Flash needs your details by midnight on Sunday 12th of December so she can assign Secret Santas and people have time to post their gifts.
So, don't be lonely this Christmas - come and join everyone in our Spoonie Secret Santa and Cripmas Lunch!