At Marmalade Trust, we know that the Christmas period is a difficult time of year for people experiencing loneliness and for the last few years people have been even more isolated due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
For Christmas 2022 we wanted to bring joy, companionship, and festive fun to people who would otherwise be alone at Christmas! Here's what happened...
This year we supported over 200 people experiencing loneliness (our members) through our Christmas Cheer project. This included:
146 pre-Christmas visits from volunteers and a gift bag delivery
400+ phone calls from volunteers in the lead up to Christmas
124 attending meal events across 10 restaurants and 79 receiving a doorstep visit on Christmas Day with the support of 165 volunteers
Over 200 hampers full of wonderful gifts
Over 200 January follow up phone calls
Pre-Christmas visit and gift bag delivery
In November, 16 amazing University of the West of England (UWE) paramedic students and four Marmalade Trust volunteers visited 146 people experiencing loneliness. Volunteers stayed for a doorstep chat and delivered a wonderful gift bag. One of our members shared:
“It was just so nice having someone come to my door. It makes you feel wanted and alive.”
We are so grateful for the amazing support of volunteers who visited our members and for the kind organisations and businesses who helped make the gift bags possible. The gift bags included:
A festive red bag donated by Raja Pack
A Christmas card handmade by local school children from St. Mary Redcliffe C of E Primary School
A handmade bookmark from Happy Days Nursery in Bradley Stoke
A handmade Christmas decoration from Mama Bear's Day Nursery
A Marmalade Trust Winter Wellbeing Leaflet including useful local contacts
A sweet tartlet treat
English Tea Shop cinnamon tea
A festive word search
A face mask
Pre-Christmas phone calls
165 volunteers made phone calls to members they had been matched to with the aim of connecting before they met on Christmas Day and to arrange collection or a visit time.
Over 400 phone calls were made by volunteers – that’s around 200 call hours!
“I loved the chats with everyone beforehand and the Marmalade Trust staff were so friendly and reassured me that I would be ok. I haven’t been out for many months and was very nervous, but I had such a great time” Marmalade member
20 incredible volunteers helped with hamper packing in December. With huge thanks to:
Trinity Henleaze-URC for letting us use their hall to pack hampers
Bristol Junior Chamber for making 220 felt Christmas Puddings
Totes for donating 140 pairs of socks and gloves
Essential Co-op for donating 102 packets of liquorice
Sky for donating 100 puzzle books and a voucher
Costco for donating £100
Rhythm 108 for donating 78 bars of chocolate
Bristol Water for collecting items
Local Co-Op, Tesco, Asdas, Waitrose, Morrisons, Wilkos and Costco donating items like crisps, mince pies or a voucher towards items
Werther’s Originals for donating sweets
On the big day, 203 members connected with 165 volunteers – that’s a HUGE 368 people connected on Christmas Day in the greater Bristol area! Of 203 members:
124 members were picked up by a volunteer to go to one of 10 venues across the greater Bristol area. They had a 3-course meal, great chats and festive fun and received a gift hamper.
"My huge thank you for such a wonderful day. It was truly marvellous; everyone was so friendly and kind. I have not known anything like it before.”
“This event made my Christmas where I would have otherwise been alone, as I didn’t have my kids this year. It is so rewarding for both volunteers and members alike and couldn’t have gone better.”
79 members (who were unable to leave their homes) had a doorstep visit, a chat with a volunteer and received a gift hamper.
“I arrived and my member was sat in their porch with the door open. He was in his 90’s and said he had had the door open for an hour, ‘because he didn’t want to miss me’. I knew then, just how important this is.” Marmalade volunteer
Christmas Cheer would not have been possible without the generous support of our volunteers and funders like the Grateful Society, John James Bristol Foundation, the Society of Merchant Venturers, the Dolphin Society, Gallagher, St. James Place Foundation, Bristol Benevolent Institution and Barchester's Charitable Trust, amongst others.
We want to say…