From Colleagues to Companions: A Christmas Romance
By Bea Swallow
Reading time: 2 minutes.
As the decoration boxes are stowed away in the cupboard under the stairs and the leftover food supply begins to dwindle, let’s take one last look back on Christmas in all its festive charm, where some of us don’t just feel a chill in the air, but love…
Cast your minds back to 2020, to the depths of winter in early December. With not much to do and nowhere to go due to global lockdown restrictions, an opportunity arose at Caring in Bristol for volunteers to spend an afternoon packing envelopes with information leaflets and writing out Christmas cards addressed to the incredible supporters of the charity. Owing to social distancing guidelines, the group was considerably smaller than in previous years, but this reportedly made it feel far more intimate and open, providing a friendly environment for people to interact and socialise on the lead up to Christmas. Fran and Josh were among this merry group of volunteers. The pair had worked together prior for several months at 1625 Independent People: a prevention charity helping young people at risk of homelessness through offering specialist support with education, employment and training opportunities. They seemed to get on well at work, and even started to notice an elusive spark forming between them: ‘If you’re in the same field of work, then you already know you’ve got similar interests and aspirations. But we both kept playing it cool.’
When she suggested that he join her volunteering one evening he didn’t hesitate to lend a hand. It was there they got to know each other outside of a professional context, sharing a mince pie between sealing envelopes. Fast forward to a year later, and the couple are still together: “I guess that would be our first ‘date’, then we went on an official one after that. I think he felt the volunteering finally gave him the confidence to ask me out. […] Focusing on the task at hand took the pressure off us, so we were able to really get to know each other.”
We are thrilled the couple are still together and delighted that we could play a small role in their budding romance. Volunteering together at Christmas is perhaps the perfect tale to tell the grandchildren. With the onset of a new year, it’s likely many of us are looking for new and exciting ways to play our part in creating a city empowered to solve homelessness, or even an excuse to meet new people following a turbulent year. Caring in Bristol offers many different volunteering opportunities, and it’s more than just a ‘tick-the-box’ type charity work in return for good karma. It offers a chance to learn more about a great cause, meet likeminded people, and form meaningful relationships in your city.
If you’d be interested in taking part in upcoming volunteering opportunities, sign up to our mailing list or email @email@example.com