Tree of Joy (December 2012)



Rotary Tree of Joy - Providing a Present for Needy Guernsey Children at Christmas


Views of St Peter Port from dark December aircraft take-offs and approaches include one extra iconic sight beyond the rest of the year.


Many Christmas lights far below announce that the festive season is again upon us. However, the very longest and tallest set of those lights towers brightly above the main roundabout in Town. Those particular lights have a very specific meaning - the annual Tree of Joy initiative to provide a Christmas present to needy children in Guernsey has begun.


The Rotary Tree of Joy initiative is run every year by the Rotary Club of Guernsey, supported by the public at large and various organizations:


  1. The public is able to select from various participating locations (shops, banks etc.) a Tree of Joy Tag, which identifies a specific needy Guernsey child only by first name, age and gender. The Tag also includes, from those who best know the specific child, details of the suggested Christmas present.  The guideline maximum cost of the present is £25, although many suggested presents actually cost less than this.
  2. After selecting a Tag, the member of the public then purchases the present suggested (from whichever source they wish), wraps it, attaches the Tag and delivers it back to the participating location. These presents are then collected by members of the Rotary Club of Guernsey, who ensure they get to the relevant child for Christmas.
  3. In addition to branches of some of the High Street banks, the main Post Office and the Information Centre, participating locations include Aladdin's Cave and Creaseys. Creaseys Toy Shop also provide a gift-wrapping service, thus simplifying the logistics for the public once they have selected a Tag and purchased the related present.

The Tree of Joy initiative can mean a great deal for some children at a special time of the year. However, the logistics are quite tricky and have to happen within a very tight 3 week timescale in December. Therefore, as soon as the Tree of Joy is switched on (29 November in 2012), we encourage the maximum early support from the public in selecting the Tags and providing the related, wrapped present. This helps us ensure that they get to each particular child in time for Christmas.


In December 2012, The Rotary Tree of Joy initiative was extremely well supported by the Guernsey public again. Over 600 Christmas presents were provided for needy local children.

In addition to public participation, some staff from generous organizations in Guernsey participate collectively by selecting a number of Tags and purchasing the related Christmas presents for children, rather than just for each other.

 

As well as the very tall light tree on St Julian's roundabout in Town, two further trees act as beacons of the Tree of Joy and the related generosity of the Guernsey public in supporting needy children with a present at this time of year.  These are the tall light tree outside the Airport Terminal and the traditional Christmas Tree adjacent to the Town Church, where the Father Christmas parade ends each year for the turning on of the Christmas lights in Town.


Volunteers from the Rotary Club of Guernsey and its sister organization, Inner Wheel, erect the trees, work with the relevant agencies and make the logistics happen. This includes operating the Secret Rotary Elves Grotto somewhere in Guernsey, to collect, store, sort, check and assemble the donated presents for onward delivery to the children in time for Christmas. They are further supported by the generosity of three sponsoring organizations who have funded the capital cost of the light trees: Long Port, Deutsche Bank and Sure.


The public were able to obtain Tree of Joy Tags from the following locations, whom we thank for their participation:


Aladdins Cave, Creasey's Toyshop, Guernsey Post Office (Smith Street and Envoy House), HSBC Bank (St Peter Port and St Martins), Josef of Switzerland, Lloyds TSB (St Peter Port, St Martins and St Sampsons), Miss Nob Boutique, Monkey Puzzle (School and @Kings), NatWest (Cobo, St Peter Port, St Martins and St Sampsons) and the Visitors Centre in St Peter Port.


In addition, we thank the management and staff at the following organizations for their generous participation, primarily via the internal take-up of Tags and purchase of presents for needy Guernsey children:


Augentius (Guernsey), Barclays Wealth, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Gentoo Fund Services, Guernsey Financial Services Commission, Healthspan, HSBC Securities, Intertrust, Kleinwort Benson, KPMG, Long Port, Northern Trust, RBC Wealth Management, RBS, Saffrey Champness, Schroders and Specsavers. 


The Rotary Club of Guernsey also runs a separate initiative to provide Christmas Hampers to families and individuals in difficult circumstances.  These Hampers are funded by public collections on the Rotary Flag day - 1 December 2012. In December 2012, the Rotary Flag Day collection, enhanced by a generous gift of £1,000 from Lagan construction, enabled us to provide 170 Christmas Food Hampers to those needing them in the island.


Further Details: Rotarian John Hollis


Tree of Joy Assembly, Sunday 11 and 18 November, and Removal on Sunday 13 January 2013


Many thanks to Rotarians who helped with installing the ground anchors and subsequently assembling the Rotary Tree of Joy at St Julian's roundabout.


We had requested two fine Sunday mornings in November, with the first Sunday preceded by a good soaking of rain to soften up the ground for screwing in the ground anchors. We were granted both requests, as some of the photos illustrate, and all work was completed as planned.

 

 

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