Hamper donations for the lonely are a Christmas miracle

More than 400 Christmas gifts and hampers have been donated to people experiencing loneliness in Swindon.

Published: Thursday, 19th December 2019

Parcels containing gifts, festive treats and cupboard essentials have been kindly given to clients of Swindon Circles by a host of local businesses and organisations.

Swindon Circles is run by Swindon Borough Council’s Community Health and Wellbeing team, who receive around 200 referrals for the programme every year.

The initiative, which has been running for the past four and a half years, is designed to offer close personal support to people experiencing loneliness. It is a chance for those who don’t have friends and family living nearby to connect with others, and is particularly important at Christmas time.

The Community Health and Wellbeing team recruit volunteers and match them with people who have limited social contact. Where people are able to get out and about, they are introduced to some of the activities available in Swindon’s vibrant community such as coffee mornings, lunch clubs, games and sports. Volunteers even help their clients with attending hospital appointments or with their weekly shopping.

This year, Christmas hampers have been donated by businesses such as Nationwide, Gallagher Insurance Risk Management and Consulting, Intel and others from across Swindon.

The hampers were given to isolated and lonely people, many of whom will be spending Christmas Day alone this year, at a special event at Toothill Community Centre. The Yule Meet Again event also saw Zurich provide taxis and food bags for those who attended.

Councillor Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “We have been lucky enough to have some fantastic support from lots of people and organisations who have opened their hearts and donated hampers and Christmas gifts to people experiencing loneliness and isolation in our community.

“Swindon Circles is a wonderful initiative which I fully support and I hope these hampers will help many vulnerable and lonely residents this Christmas.

“I would like to say a massive thank you to everybody who has donated and to my team for making these festive donations happen.”

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