BE A SANTA TO A SENIOR Success For Third Year Running!

Throughout the month of December our team have been busy collecting, wrapping, organising and delivering donated gifts to those older people alone at Christmas.

This is the third year we have ran this initiative and it certainly has been the best one yet!

As in previous years, we chose to work with three local charities; Red Cross, Age Connect and Contact the Elderly. The reason we do this is to make sure the donations get to the people that they are intended for; those who are on their own at Christmas.

This year we also introduced private referrals, where anyone could nominate someone they knew would be on their own to receive a gift. In total, we received 106 private referrals which meant that more people could benefit from the initiative which it wouldn’t have reached otherwise.

Since the end of November, designated drop off points were collecting donations, making it even easier to donate this year. We were extremely grateful for those who offered their support in becoming official drop off points;

-Ty Llywelyn, Llandudno

- St David’s Church, Penrhyn Bay

- Bowmer and Kirkland, Colwyn Bay

- Tesco, Abergele

- Kinmel Bay Community Library

- Rosie’s, Rhuddlan

- Nova Centre, Prestatyn

- Age Connects, Denbigh

Our team also held an information stand and drop off point, early December, in the Bay View Shopping Centre, Colwyn Bay.

Three lovely 6th formers from Ysgol Bryn Elian joined our team at the stand, volunteering their time to help the initiative again this year. Charlotte Gough, Lara Williams and Harriet Marshall also spent time going around individual local shops to request and collect donations of gifts. We were delighted that some of our new CAREGivers, Shannon Bell and Jessica Winship, stepped up to volunteer their time too.

Rhyl High pupil, Molly Griffith, supported the initiative by using her own money that she saved to purchase over 20 gifts. She then delivered these to our office with her mum and sister, who both offered help with wrapping and delivering the presents.

Cartrefi Conwy and Ty Llywelyn hosted wrapping days along with our team, where volunteers came to help wrap the donated gifts.

Thanks to the generosity of the local people of North Wales, we received over 1100 donations. This meant the charities all received gifts, as well as patients who were stuck in hospital over Christmas and those who were discharged just before but are on their own. Five local hospitals benefited from the initiative which included Glan Clwyd, Abergele, Colwyn Bay, Bryn Hesketh and Llandudno.

But it didn’t stop there!

We were also able to deliver gifts to Hafod Y Parc, Tan Y Fron, St David’s Hospice and Woods of Abergele who take a group of older ladies out to dinner and the theatre at Christmas every year.

Food hampers were put together and delivered to a few older people that have recently been rehoused by Denbighshire County Council Homeless Prevention Team.

The North Wales Fire and Rescue Service assisted our team with the delivery of gifts to various addresses across Conwy and Denbighshire, whilst also offering free fire safety checks at the same time.

One person who received a package for Christmas called the office to thank the team for all their hard work. They explained how they thoroughly enjoyed the company of the ladies from North Wales Fire Service, who carried out a safety check whilst on their visit.

This is why ‘Be A Santa To A Senior’ is so much more than receiving a gift, the person is engaging in social interaction that they may not have otherwise had.

All this wouldn’t be possible without the help and support of our local community, businesses and organisations: THANK YOU ALL!

The success of this initiative is growing every year, so hopefully this year will be even greater again!