Festive Cheer for Our Older Community

22nd December 2020

December has always been a jam-packed month of festivities at Holbeck Together and this year we’ve had to be even more creative in finding ways of spreading as much seasonal cheer as possible!

Due to the change in guidelines, we had to revise our original plans, but wanted to give people the opportunity to get into the festive spirit at home whilst continuing to receive crucial wellbeing support and opportunities to be active and safe.

Recipe Kits, Crafting & Christmas Jumpers

At the beginning of December we sent out festive Recipe Kits to people living locally. They included chef Julie’s instructions and ingredients for those who wanted to try their hand at some seasonal home cooking.

We also delivered Christmas bauble craft kits with instructions and craft materials. Made from yarn, clients made decorations to adorn their trees or give as gifts.

To celebrate Christmas Jumper Day on 11th December, we visited older members of the community who had donned their favourite Christmas jumper in aid of Save the Children. Participants received a doorstep wellbeing chat and some Christmas treats and volunteers collected donations.

Winter Wellbeing

We know that our deliveries may be the only face-to-face interactions our clients have that day or week, so staff and volunteers always stop for a socially-distanced chat where they can. Ensuring that our clients have the support and can access the services they need has become even more vital this year and we approach all service delivery from a health- and wellbeing-informed perspective. We continue to deliver one-to-one support, making over 100 wellbeing calls a week and providing practical advice and advocacy services over the phone.

With support from the Leeds Community Foundation Stay Well This Winter fund, we delivered 60 Winter Warmer Hampers to our older community members. The parcels were lovingly packed by a team of Leeds United volunteers and included winter health information, a flask, reusable face masks, hand sanitiser, hand crocheted blankets, hand warmers, hats and scarf and a torch.

Accessing hot, nutritious food which is delivered to the door by a friendly face has become a daily lifeline for many of our clients. In addition to our regular service, we wanted to make some of these mainstays extra special as part of our festive programme.

Christmas Dinner Delivered

On the Friday before Christmas, our Christmas helpers delivered a festive supper and activity pack to 50 older members of the community. National Citizen Service youth volunteers from the Leeds United Foundation made the packs, which included puzzles, recipes and craft activities. The suppers included mince pies handmade by volunteers from TransUnion.

We delivered a full Christmas dinner lunch to 50 older members of the community on the Tuesday before Christmas. Some of our clients told us that this would be their main Christmas meal, so Chef Julie and her fantastic team of volunteer elves made it as special as possible.

As an extra treat, volunteers will be delivering fish and chip suppers from local favourite Park Fisheries on Christmas Eve.

Hampers & Gifts

After a challenging year, we wanted to make sure that everyone has something special to open this Christmas day. Our incredible team have been out in the community delivery 100 Christmas Morning Hampers.

These contain donations from TransUnion, Morrisons, Friends of Middleton Park, Engie, British Gas and The Becklin Centre at St. James’ Hospital, and were lovingly packed by local volunteers from the community. It’s the personal touches that make Christmas special and hamper highlights include homemade Terry’s Chocolate Orange flapjacks, made by the amazing team at TransUnion.

New Year Activities

Our office will be closed over Christmas weekend, but our fantastic team of volunteers and staff will continue to make wellbeing and befriending calls to the most isolated members of the community.

Regular operations will commence on the 28th December and we’ll be delivering a roast beef dinner to 50 older members of the community on New Years Eve. It will be our final hot meal delivery of 2020, so we’ll be adding some extra sparkle to help our clients bring in the New Year in style.

Our daily 1-2-1 walking sessions, which have temporarily replaced the popular walking group, have been hugely popular and we’ll be developing these further in the New Year. We have a new DVD library, so to get involved and start receiving new releases and old classics directly to your door here. The Social Supermarket will be back on 7th January.

Team Effort

It’s been an incredible team effort this year, and without the help of our fantastic volunteers, supporters and funders, we wouldn’t have been able to:

  • deliver over 11,000 meals directly to our older clients’ homes
  • provide over 1,500+ meals to families locally
  • shop on behalf of someone who couldn’t get out 182 times
  • provide food relief through our 1,800+ food parcels
  • provide wellbeing support to those who are isolated at home more than 2,700 times
  • or provide almost 2,000 at home activity packs for our older community and young families.

Thank you to everyone who has pitched in and lent a hand.

Season’s Greetings

We wanted to reach out to as many people as possible at what can be a difficult time of the year. This month, we sent Season’s Greetings cards to all 5,300 households in Holbeck. It was a gesture of friendship during the festive season, but also includes practical information about how people can access support should they need it.

Our hope was to connect with people we haven’t met before and reach out to those who aren’t digitally connected. It’s been wonderful to hear from people, so please give us a call and say hi if you’d like. You’ll hopefully also see our banners dotted about Holbeck. We want as many people as possible to know there’s support, advice and activities available in their community, so please spread the word!

Supporters of Holbeck Together