Spreading Joy through Acts of Kindness - Be a Santa to a Senior

Mrs Claus collects gifts from Home Instead to deliver in the community to vulnerable and lonely individuals.

Christmas Comes Early at Home Instead Gwent and Monmouthshire

October is a time when everyone will be preparing for Halloween or Bonfire Night; however here at Home Instead Newport and Monmouthshire it brings us that warm festive glow earlier and the understanding and meaning of what Christmas is all about. We hear those sleigh bells jingle-ing and Ring ting tingle-ing and although it is only October, we launch our annual Christmas campaign of ‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ which is in its fourth consecutive year where we ask our local communities to help us collect donations of gifts which we deliver to isolated and lonely elderly people to help bring a little extra cheer to those who need it the most.

The 2023 campaign was like no other and it brought a real sense of togetherness throughout Gwent and Monmouthshire with local community groups such as the ‘Afon Ladies Group’ in Rogerstone coming together and bringing in individual gift packages which brought a real sense of community. Morrisons in Rogerstone backed the campaign where they allowed us to hold donation days and donation stations which customers across Newport put gifts of chocolate, sweets, clothing and more into the ‘Christmas Donation Trolley’ which was wrapped in paper and tinsel and displaying the Christmas ‘Wish List’ to give shoppers ideas of what to donate. Local businesses supported the campaign such as Whiteheads Building Services, Tiny Rebel, The Two Sister Food Group, and a local clothing stall holder Sue Provero who donated a huge amount of warm winter woollies.

Whitehead Building Services commenting ‘We are delighted to support Home Instead once again this year with their ‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ Christmas initiative in Newport. We continue to strive to make a difference to the communities in which we work.’

Tiny Rebel quoting ‘Who doesn’t love beer? We support Home Instead ‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ project because we want to make life better for all sectors of our community. We’re on a mission to bring you good times with a hint of beer.’

Out in The Community

The gifts were stacked high and with wrapping paper in hand Nicola Masters – Community Engagement Officer for Home Instead and Jayani Colombage – Care Professional set to work on the enormous task of putting individual gift packages together. A warm jumper, a box of Chocolates, a mice pie, with slippers and smellies in hand we carefully wrapped the first package along with a special message ‘At the holidays and always we are always here to help’; the first gift was ready. Jayani took the lead on the wrapping whilst Nicola’s writing hand began to wane as we continued to work through each single donated item and Christmas message until till we were ready to put all the packages into the Christmas Sleigh – A.K.A  a red Vauxhall Insignia to go from house to house to house just as Santa Claus intended.  

Reaching out to local support services Care and Repair nominated a number of individuals in Chepstow and Caldicot and a Social Work Assistant from Newport Community Connectors nominated a lovely 98-year-old woman in Newport who we had the pleasure of meeting and hearing about all of her younger life with her husband who she unfortunately lost 8 years previous. It was an amazing privilege to bring some joy into these people’s lives however nothing seemed to stop our lovely lady as with no family or children companionship is really important to her so learning about how active she is was a massive inspiration, neither the less the smile that the gift brought to her was a real gift to us at Home Instead.

Abergavenny was our next stop and with the support of Claire Francis an Occupation Therapy Technician in Maindiff Hospital serving Monmouthshire they had nominated 9 individuals across Abergavenny and Usk to receive Christmas Gifts and as we went from door to door the smiles of people’s faces were overwhelmingly beautiful; what better way to spend the last day at work before the Christmas holidays as a part of Santa’s Christmas mission to deliver happiness.

Our final stop landed at a crisp frozen car park at Age Connects in Torfaen where we distributed over 19 packages to older individuals that come into the centre for companionship, dementia support and to escape loneliness. It has been an amazing campaign, and we look to 2024 to make it bigger and better to reach more individuals that are lonely and isolated.  For us at Home Instead it is important to share our message that they are not alone, and they are not forgotten about.

If you would like to support our ‘Be a Santa to a Senior Campaign in 2024 and want to make a donation all you need do is call Nicola on 01633 740028 for more information.