Be a Santa - How it Went

This year's scheme was a huge success, our biggest yet!

Over the years we have found that there are so many older people in our area who do not have friends or family to spend their day with and may not even get to speak to another person on Christmas Day. So back in 2016, we started up a community gift giving scheme for Christmas, called ‘Be a Santa to a Senior.’ We have run this every year since, and it has grown and grown within our community. We want to spread some Christmas cheer to those in need of it and let them know their community is thinking of them.

The idea behind the scheme is that we act as a collection and distribution point – collecting gift donations from members of the public which we then wrap and distribute to lonely, isolated older people in the community who may not be seeing or speaking to anyone this Christmas, or even receiving any cards or gifts. We find appropriate people to donate gifts to by working with local charities, community groups, the local Council, and local individuals or groups/churches who are putting on free to attend Christmas lunches for people on their own.

This year, our collection ran from mid November, until the 8th December. We had people popping in every day with armfuls of beautiful gifts they wanted to donate. We also had a few larger organisations donate to us as well, such as The Liam Shepherd Foundation, who provide money or gifts to help people year-round. The team at the Equipment & Demonstration Centre on Winterstoke Road held a workplace collection and donated a lovely box of items to us. And the Worle Lions Club kindly donated a large number of calendars and handmade items from their Knit and Knatter group. We also received support from a local lady named Emma-Louise Woods, who works at Weston Hospital’s A&E Department. She has supported our scheme for 4 years now by setting up a donation point at her workplace and collected a staggering 220 gifts this year, making a huge difference to our 2023 total.

We wrapped up 3 to 4 items per gift parcel, to make a nice little bundle, and were able to donate a fantastic 200 of these to local individuals! With the help of Re-engage charity, Community Meals on Wheels and 2 Free to attend Christmas lunches, we reached out to 200 individuals and hopefully spread a bit of joy to them at Christmas.

We went through our previous donation data of numbers of gift parcels donated and have the following exciting figures to share:

Year – Number of people donated to

2016 – 30

2017 – 50

2018 – 70

2019 – no data

2020 – 83

2021 – 70 (plus 2 boxes of loose gifts for the hospital)

2022 – 90

2023 – 200!

We are proud to be able to run this scheme every year and help bring a bit of happiness to isolated individuals in our community, and every year we are so humbled by the generosity and kindness of people who donate to our scheme.