In most families there are traditions that have built up over the years. These usually accompany some event like Christmas or Birthdays. These usually add to the enjoyment of the event. Often they can be silly little things but they become very personal and meaningful to the family or group. In our family, at Christmas, we always make mince-pies on Christmas Eve. Many times I have tried to make them at some other time to make my life a lot easier, only to be met with protests from the family. When the mince-pies are made we know Christmas is truly here. It is a small thing and silly really but meaningful to our family.At Ben's we have tried to build up small traditions that give our clients some sense of belonging and continuity. One of these has been the purchase of the “Birthday Hat”. This is one of Wendy’s purchases, of course! It’s an amazing hat as you can see from the photograph, and when a button is pressed it plays Happy Birthday. We always make a cake and put candles on it and sing to the client or member of staff.

The photograph is of Jane who comes into the Kitchen on Mondays.  Everyone always complains that they have to wear it, but on the odd occasion we may forget; someone will cry ‘the hat’! We take the obligatory photograph and display it and this too adds to our sense of community and belonging. Often we will be the only people who will remember and celebrate client’s birthdays. We involve the other clients in the making of the cake and making a card too so it is a very cohesive tradition. So if you ever visit Ben's and see someone who looks as though they have a Birthday Cake on their head, you will know what we are doing. Long live traditions!