A Christmas period full of companionship and joy for those on their own across our region.
"It means everything to know someone cares. Without Marmalade Trust, I wouldn't have spoken to or seen anyone over Christmas. I'm so grateful."
This winter, we are proud to have brought joy and companionship to 192 of the most isolated and lonely people in our region. Everyone who joined us was made to feel part of our Marmalade family and were supported by our network of over 165 wonderful volunteers. Connection Advent Calendars were delivered, volunteers made weekly telephone calls through-out December and January, delicious Christmas meals were delivered and volunteers visited members on Christmas morning with hampers full of gifts. We were also able to spread the word live on BBC Breakfast and BBC Bristol on Christmas morning.
Since Christmas, our fantastic volunteers have continued to telephone members and will do so until the end of March. Through this regular contact, we're able to support those with little or no support network.
This incredible campaign wouldn't have been possible without the network of people who rally around to support us, be it volunteers giving their time, organisations donating gifts, or our donors who kindly provide vital funds so we can continue to support our members. Thanks to you, we were able to be there for those who have no one else to call on.
Thank you to our incredible donors for helping us spread some Christmas Cheer!
Our members received...
Weekly telephone call with a volunteer:
Volunteers were recruited, trained and carefully matched with Marmalade members based on factors including location and interests. 168 members received weekly calls, which provided social connect, celebration and joy during the festival period, a feeling of connection and signposting to further support and practical help. 756 hours of conversation took place between volunteers and members!
A delicious Christmas meal:
103 frozen ready meals, supplied by Wiltshire Farm Foods and delivered by volunteers at the National Food Service, were very warmly received by members.
Both meals and delivery were donated completely free of charge. One member told us: “It was absolutely brilliant; it was one of the best meals I ever had! Full marks.”
Hamper + doorstep visit on Christmas Day:
After a month of building a relationship with their volunteer companion over the phone, our members enjoyed having a special visit on Christmas Day - complete with a hamper full of gifts!The response from members was extremely positive, with 98.1% of those surveyed saying that they enjoyed the Christmas Day visit from their volunteer. The hampers were very much appreciated. As well as positive feedback on the survey, we also received phone calls and thank you letters from members, thanking us for the hamper and saying how much they had appreciated the visits.
A 'Connection Advent Calendar':
Each member was delivered a Connection Advent Calendar containing a different activity or gift to be opened on each day of advent. We were pleased to involve local schools, organisations and companies to provide a sense of connection to the wider community. Feedback from both members and contributors was extremely positive. Our members particularly enjoyed the handwritten letters and cards by schoolchildren, and the group activities they were invited to join by telephone. This was a new Christmas activity for Marmalade Trust and is one we would definitely consider running again in the future.
Research shows that pandemic-induced loneliness reached its highest-ever levels this winter. At Marmalade Trust, we’ve seen first-hand how difficult a year of prolonged isolation and anxiety has been for those with little or no support network. So, we’re so pleased that we were able to put together a project which brought some much-needed joy and companionship to our Marmalade members. Almost every member involved said they enjoyed being part of the project (98%), and we had some amazing feedback.
Our team of volunteers are at the heart of what we do, and this year, we were pleased to recruit a total of 131 wonderful people for the project.
Especially after such a challenging year, we were totally blown away by the generosity shown by our incredible volunteer family! Our volunteers cumulatively donated approx. 1,890 hours (or 78 days!) of their time for this project - that’s equivalent to watching the movie Elf back-to-back 1,169 times!
Volunteer feedback showed that they also found the project to be a very positive and enjoyable experience. Many went the extra mile to make it a more fun festive event for their member by dressing up in Christmas hats and antlers or taking a small homemade card or gift from themselves. Some volunteers took children along who the members were keen to meet after hearing lots about them on the phone. One volunteer (who would also have been spending the day alone) even took her own Christmas dinner and sat in her companion's garden, chatting through the french doors!