Press Release

20 December 2013

Students at Canterbury Christ Church University have been spreading Christmas cheer across the City by donating over two hundred gifts to local people who may be spending Christmas alone this year.

Age UK, Bridge Haven Care Centre and Catching Lives all received a visit from the students giving individually wrapped bags of presents for the elderly, people with dementia and mental illness and the homeless last week. Each bag contained several gifts including items such as luxury toiletries, chocolates and biscuits as well as a Christmas card and a cracker.

Hannah Woodley giving out presents at Age UK
Hannah Woodley giving out presents at Age UK

Organiser of the Parcel Project is first year student, Hannah Woodley, who is currently studying English Literature at the University. Imogen Thomas, a final year student studying Education Studies and Kimberly Harwood, second year Sociology and Social Sciences student, were also part of the project, setting up collection boxes at busy points around the University campus and urging staff and students to donate gifts throughout November and the beginning of December.

Ladies enjoying the afternoon at Age UK
Ladies enjoying the afternoon at Age UK

Judy Challis, Volunteering Coordinator at Canterbury Christ Church University, said: “I am extremely proud of our students for achieving such a thoughtful and caring gesture. They have worked incredibly hard in order to collect, wrap and give local people a Christmas gift during the end of term whilst studying can become intense.

“The student’s passion and enthusiasm for the project was heart-warming and watching the faces of the people receiving gifts light up was such a pleasure. The donations from staff and students at the University have been very generous and have helped to brighten up Christmas.”

Hannah pulling a cracker at Age UK
Hannah pulling a cracker at Age UK

The first stop was Age UK on Castle Street in Canterbury, where presents were given to the elderly over mince pies and coffee. The second stop was Bridge Haven Care Centre and the third stop was Catching Lives who were also given soup, coffee and minced pies.

Dr Neil Brown, Chief Officer Age UK Canterbury, said: “It was an excellent day and we were so fortunate to have Hannah and Imogen visit the Centre. The generous gifts donated by Christ Church University staff and students were really appreciated everybody was greatly touched by their thoughtfulness and kindness.

“One particular lady told us that she has been coming to Age UK for 11 years and we have never had students come into the centre with personal gifts for everyone. The gifts were all wrapped so beautifully and we realise that this would have taken a very long time to do. It was so thoughtful and generous.”

The Centres joined in the festive cheer as gifts were opened, Christmas songs sung and crackers pulled.

Philip Moore, Community Engagement Manager Avante Care and Support’s Bridge Haven Care Centre, said: “A wet afternoon in the run-up to Christmas was brightened enormously at Bridge Haven for the elderly residents, who live with dementia, when each of them received a bag of Christmas gifts.

“The students and staff from the university were so kind and attentive to residents, bringing a sparkle to their eyes and a smile to their lips. We are so grateful for this generous thought and care.”

Canterbury’s Christmas spirit had been enhanced, not only to the local residents, but to those who may not have had a Christmas this year at all.

Notes to Editor

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 20,000 students across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 94% of our most recent UK graduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2012 UCAS).
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2011/12 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey

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Last edited: 05/12/2017 04:25:00