A Makaton Christmas Celebration


Staff in one of Avenues' Kent services have been using their skills to create a Christmas Advent Calendar with a difference, a Makaton calendar, which can be used both with people supported at the service and staff as a valuable learning tool. 

The Makaton Advent Calendar was painstakingly crafted by staff at The Pines supported living service where over half the residents that live in the flats use Makaton sign language to communicate. 


Behind each door is a different Makaton sign and instructional drawing which represents something about Christmas. Assistant Service Manager Roxanne Yarwood was impressed with staff creativity "it's a really great idea as we have so many people here who use Makaton on a daily basis". The initiative came from Senior Support Worker Kara Lang "I found the advent signs online, one sign every day of Christmas, went to a craft shop and put it together." Staff and those supported also have the opportunity to learn a 'Sign of the Week' which is changed and posted every week. "It's just part of us trying to continuously improve the communicative environment for the people we support" Kara remarks

 The Advent Calendar is just part of the Christmas festivities that have been taking part at the service. They have also held a Christmas art competition. "We wanted to do something to get the whole service involved" said Service Manager Jenny Welsh "So we've had cookie decorating, card making and arts and crafts, everyone's been in great spirits". Art entries included a tree made from leaves gathered from the area surrounding the service by David and his support worker Meghan "we wanted to do something to represent where he lives" said Meghan.


 However the winning art work proved to be a colourful kaleidoscope of hand prints which everyone took part in, from staff to those supported and even a student police officer who was on a placement."It was a real team effort" said Jenny. 


Area Manager Dan Gower-Smith and Tori who is supported by Avenues.