We’re all struggling to stay connected this Christmas. With a new COVID-19 tier system in place, the traditional season of togetherness is seeing so many of us forced apart. That’s why I was delighted to be able to join Lyndsey Gallagher of Gallaghers Construction and Julie Anderson of RAP interiors in the #Care4Christmas campaign and its 15 Days of Giving. All three of us lost our mothers in the past few years, and it’s heartbreaking to see so many care home residents being separated from their loved ones at what should always be a time for family celebration.

Presents for Care4Christmas waiting to be wrapped

Donated presents waiting to be sent to RIFT for wrapping

With #Care4Christmas, we’re looking to bring a little festive joy to Kent’s care home community, many of whom either have no family at all or are unable to have visitors. Working alongside teaching assistant Kayte John of Madginford Primary School, the campaign aims to bring presents to care home residents and hopefully brighten their Christmas a little.

At RIFT, we’ve been privileged to be able to form partnerships with charities and other organisations working to support the local community, and it’s always heartening to see how eagerly Kentish businesses and people rally around in a crisis. #Care4Christmas will be distributing donated presents on Christmas Day, along with hampers for care workers. The campaign is also running a JustGiving crowdfunding page for those who wish to donate money.

Wrapping the presents

In total, well over £6,000 have already been raised, along with gift donations that include craft supplies, board games and an astonishing 15 karaoke machines! One particularly thoughtful donation came in the form of a TV that could be linked to an iPad to help residents stay in touch with their families over the holiday.

To prepare for the big day, we’ve converted the RIFT canteen into a fully functioning Santa’s Workshop, with over 1,000 donated presents to wrap already! Meanwhile, we’ve donated our own RIFT Christmas tree to care home residents. We can’t wait to see their faces light up when it’s unveiled.

Presents ready to go

As for what you can do to join in with #Care4Christmas, you’ve got a few very festive options:

  • Donate presents for care home residents, be they books, cuddly toys, board games or puzzles. Gift vouchers are always welcome, of course. If you’re wrapping your donation, gifts for ladies are being wrapped in red, with green for the men.
  • Head over to the campaign’s JustGiving page and give what you can manage to this amazing cause. Cash donations will be used to buy presents on your behalf.
  • We’re also recognising the wonderful, incredibly demanding work done by care home staff, so donations of chocolates, biscuits or bottles of wine can all go toward one of our gift hampers for them.

Donations can be dropped off at these locations, before the 15th of December 2020:

  • In Reception at Gallagher Group, Leitrim House, Aylesford Kent ME20 7NS
  • Rap Interiors 6 Orchard Industrial Estate, Maidstone, Kent ME15 9YE
  • Rift Group, 200 Eureka Park, Upper Pemberton, Kennington, Ashford, Kent TN25 4AZ

I thought it’d be appropriate to give the final word to a representative of one of the care homes we’re working with, so here’s Nicole from Fairlawn Residential Home in Maidstone:

“It once again gives another clear and shining example of local communities coming together and working toward making the lives of the lonely, vulnerable, frail and cold better this Christmas.

“We have 23 residents here, and each has been so brave and stoic about the restrictions in place and living through a pandemic with all of the worries that entails, when it comes to themselves and their fears and lonely pangs for loved ones. I know that each would love a gift and I cannot thank you enough for thinking of them.”

For more information click here: https://www.rapinteriors.co.uk/news/support-maidstone-care-homes-christmas/