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Wellesbourne and Walton Community Cares lifts spirits with Christmas gift bags to the vulnerable and isolated

A volunteer group from Wellesbourne and Walton is helping to keep people’s spirits up during the pandemic by providing Christmas gift bags to vulnerable and isolated members of the community.

Wendy Waters - Wellbeing Navigator at Hastings House Medical Centre

Wellesbourne and Walton Community Cares (WWCC) is organising a Christmas gift bag initiative for any local resident who is isolated, vulnerable or who lives alone.

The gift bags will be filled with an assortment of festive foods such as Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, mince pies, chocolates, jam, marmalade, pickles or shortbread biscuits, as well as a Christmas television guide.

WWCC is asking local people who wish to support the initiative to donate a filled Christmas gift bag, which will  be delivered across Orbit’s three Independent Living Schemes in Wellesbourne, a private housing scheme and to older isolated people who live alone in general needs housing within the community. It is hoped that 300 bags can be collated for distribution.

Wendy Waters, Wellbeing Navigator who is based at Hastings House Medical Centre, said: “This year has been difficult for so many people. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic we have introduced some morale boosting initiatives to keep spirits up such as delivering planted summer bedding containers to people who were shielding and providing 50 summer gift bags filled with treats, to local people who were isolating at home.

“The feedback we got from these initiatives was amazing. People wrote to us to say how much they appreciated the support, how much it had made them smile and how it made them feel like they were part of a caring community. Following this great feedback, we decided to do a much bigger event at Christmas.

“The aim of the Christmas gift bag initiative is to let local people know that we care, we are here to support them and that they are part of a caring community. The bags will be given to local people who are perhaps shielding, live alone, are isolated from their family or who don’t have any family. So, we are really encouraging local people to donate a gift bag this year and make someone smile this Christmas!”

In August, Wendy was recognised for all the help and support she has given to vulnerable members of her community during lockdown and was presented with an Orbit Thriving Communities Award in a special ‘Lockdown Hero’ category.

Wendy works at the Hastings House Medical Centre, alongside the Practice Community Nurse, Heidi Williams, and has spent her time visiting customers in general needs homes, extra care schemes and Independent Living properties, to ensure that Orbit customers and members of the wider community were supported.

Cheryl Flavell, Placemaking and Partnership Manager at Orbit said: “At Orbit, we are committed to creating a better society by reinvesting our profits to improve local services and communities. Orbit is proud to sponsor Wendy’s role as Wellbeing Navigator at Hastings House Medical Centre, enabling her to be involved and organise amazing initiatives such as the Christmas gift bags.

“Due to the ongoing pandemic, it is especially important to support vulnerable people this Christmas. Social clubs, community groups and day centres which people would usually attend, remain closed following lockdown and many Christmas community events will not be taking place. These gift bags will provide those who are isolating with a lovely Christmas present, lifting their spirits and spreading some festive joy, after what has been a difficult year for everyone.”

The filled gift bags must be delivered after lockdown between 5th and 12th December to Hastings House Medical Centre, Rivers Way, Wellesbourne, CV35 9RF. The gift bags will be delivered to a local person a few days before Christmas.

For more information, please contact Wendy Waters, Wellbeing Navigator at Hastings House Medical Centre on wendy.waters1@nhs.net.