Season of goodwill

Happy Christmas!

Added: 22 December 2019

In our December post, we’d like to wish all of our customers and clients a very Happy Christmas and to thank you for supporting us through 2019.

December closed for us with two charity events that we were delighted to support. We provided traditional Christmas meals for local support groups: ‘Brews and Wets’ (for former members of the armed forces) and 'Sporting Memories'. Both initiatives are run by Exeter City Community Trust. The ex-forces group provides support and friendship to local veterans, encouraging them to spend time with others who share similar experiences. The group, held at Exeter City Football Club, St James Park (Tuesdays 10-12) is thriving. The Sporting Memories group is aimed at men over 50, who, for a variety of reasons, might have found themselves lonely or isolated – or challenged by physical or mental health problems. They bring in their own sporting memorabilia and have fun chatting about watching or playing sport in the past. This stimulates social interaction, fosters friendship and promotes wellbeing. It also involves lots of tea, coffee, cake and laughter! This initiative is also a collaboration with the Sporting Memories Foundation and there are now four groups in Devon: Exeter, Tiverton, Okehampton and Exmouth. I (Dave’s wife Ali!) co-facilitate the Exeter and Tiverton groups. It’s now two years since we held our first session. We could never have imagined what a wonderful success it would be, and what a dramatic effect it would have on the participants’ lives. Special thanks go to some of our suppliers for their generous contributions to the Christmas meals: Simon at Weddel Swift, Exeter; Vince at BDF Fresh Produce, Newton Abbot; and Jake at JR Foods, Exeter. We like to keep it all local!

Contributing charitably to the local community has always been at the core of our ethos. During the 25 years at D J Haggett Butchers Ltd., in Silverton, we nominated local causes annually for support, either financially or by donating time in person. Among many, we were pleased to support Silverton Playgroup, Rewe Men’s Breakfasts & fete, the local parish churches and Thorverton Bingo. Among the more unusual offerings were donations of lungs, hearts and eyes, to the lovely ‘Mr Hill’ at Clyst Vale Community College for dissection in biology class! I’m not sure this would be allowed today, particularly as our sons couriered the items on the school bus, and (as we learned much later) caused a certain amount of chaos with them in transit! I also recall that Dave was sponsored to spend one chilly winter behind the butcher’s counter in shorts, to raise money for the playgroup. That was a sight to behold! In more recent years, it has been a pleasure to donate meals and provide discounted food and services to good causes locally. Thanks also to Lyndy Pooley, Valerie & Chris Rathbone, and Rose & Steve Gorman who helped at the Christmas events.

Over the years, we have found the benefits of volunteering to be enormous. Here are our top four reasons to give it a go:

  • Giving back to the community. As a small, independent, local business, the local community has supported us loyally over the years. It’s important to us to ‘give something back’ - to say thank you - and be actively involved with initiatives and good causes in our region of Devon.
  • Humility and kindness. For many people these are challenging times. It’s important to us that we are aware of needs in our local community and that we can help act where support is needed. Kindness has a ripple effect! Helping others fosters positive emotions – it’s reciprocal.
  • Connections with others. We have met many new people who have become life-long friends. We have learned so much from volunteering and have also learned much from other volunteers and community organisations. Modern society seems so disconnected – building strong links with local communities helps mitigate feelings of isolation and alienation. For us at D J Haggett, food is our thing! What better way to bring people together?
  • It’s good for you! There is mounting evidence that volunteer work is related positively to psychological well-being and self-reported health. This is certainly our experience!

We’re ending 2019 on that positive note and look forward to seeing you in the New Year. Good wishes for 2020, from all at D J Haggett.

*If you are interested in finding out more about Sporting Memories or the veterans’ group, please do contact us and we’ll direct you to the appropriate person*

(Pictured, Sporting Memories Christmas meal - and a terrible photo, taken by Ali, who has yet to master the skill of a selfie!)