The Beaney Xmas tree with Lord Mayor Terry Westgate along with volunteers from Christ Church University, Ren and Hinako and Beaney staff who supported the origami workshops

To celebrate Tree Dressing Day, The Beaney ran family drop-in workshops and invited local school and community groups to create their own origami stars with their wishes and hopes for the future. These are now on display on The Beaney’s Christmas tree and also on the Front Room gallery community wall display.

National Tree Dressing Day falls on the first weekend of December. It was initiated by Common Ground in 1990 and has grown to become much more than an expression of a love for trees. It is a chance for the whole community to gather and celebrate the leafy friends we all have in common. It is also a chance for communities to reflect on the social and cultural history of their local area, and the role trees have played in shaping this story. You can find out more about National Tree Dressing Day here.

We are extremely grateful to all 172 pupils, students, clients and staff who learned how to make an origami star and contributed to dressing the tree. We welcomed participants from: Canterbury College, Canterbury Christ Church University, The Umbrella Centre, St Anselm’s, Pilgrim’s Way, St Peter’s Primary, Chartham Primary, Parkside Community, Sensing Culture group, Power of the Object group, KRAN (Kent Refugee Action Network) and all the visitors who made an origami star in the Front Room gallery.

Participants said they found the workshops, ‘relaxing and friendly’ and the Umbrella Centre said it was ‘an excellent session’. One pupil said: ‘I enjoyed making the origami and trying new things.’ and another commented: ‘I feel great because I can make these things at home.’

The Lord Mayor and Lord Mayoress, Terry and Sue Westgate came along to see the wonderful work and to congratulate all those who took part in the workshops. Ren and Hinako, Japanese students from Canterbury Christ Church University who had volunteered throughout the project, demonstrated to the Mayor how to make an origami crane. Laura Spencer, International Development Manager from Christ Church University said: Thank you so much for hosting a really lovely celebration – we appreciated the invitation and it was a pleasure for Hinako and Ren to meet the Lord Mayor too!

Why not pop in and make your own origami star to add to the tree along with your wish for the future too? You’ll find all the materials in our The True Meaning of Christmas! Front Room exhibition that runs until Sunday 12 January 2020.