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Local Age UK and OneFamily’s elf army make special delivery

Published on 16 December 2021 05:30 PM

Winter warmth Bags of Support distributed to vulnerable older people this Christmas

Age UK West Sussex, Brighton & Hove (WSBH) is working with Brighton based financial services company, OneFamily to deliver winter warmth ‘Bags of Support’ to older people locally this Christmas. The bags will be given to some of the most vulnerable in our community, including those at risk of fuel poverty. They contain socks, gel hand warmers, advice on staying warm and reducing fuel bills, a magazine and a range of other freebies.

The deliveries will be made by an ‘elf army’ of staff and volunteers throughout December. Recipients from across Brighton & Hove and West Sussex will be chosen as they have accessed Age UK WSBH’s crisis, help at home, information and advice or befriending services. They may also have accessed the charity’s warm homes initiative, received meal deliveries or been referred from other agencies.

OneFamily has donated £2,500 to fund the winter warmth bags, allowing Age UK WSBH to deliver to and check in on those who might need support this winter. Energy prices have soared in the last few months, leaving many older people worried about using their heating this festive season. The donation is just one of the ways that OneFamily supports local causes on behalf of its members.

Helen Rice, Chief Executive at Age UK WSBH said “Energy prices have gone through the roof and we know some older people are even thinking they may have to choose between heating and eating which is so upsetting. Our bags of support will hopefully spread a little winter warmth, but more importantly, they’ll let older people know they can contact us if they are struggling. We have great success in accessing unclaimed welfare benefits for people and can also help them practically with advice on energy saving and staying warm and well. We hope our ‘elf army’ will put smiles on faces as they make their deliveries too.”

Teddy Nyahasha, CEO of OneFamily said, “This is an important campaign that gives practical gifts to the elderly but also some festive treats too. Due to the Covid situation we aren’t able to invite local Age UK members into our offices this year for their usual festive party, so we thought we’d take our Christmas cheer to their doorsteps instead.

“For some older people Christmas can feel especially lonely and sad. This year has been a tough time for everyone but when you live on your own and you’re vulnerable you can feel very frightened and alone. We hope our deliveries will bring some much-needed happiness and smiles, so some of the more isolated members of our community know that we’re thinking of them even if we can’t get together this year.”

OneFamily is one of the key funding partners for Bags of Support in Brighton & Hove, but the bags are also supported by other organisations across West Sussex. The winter warmth campaign runs until March so Age UK WSBH is keen to hear from any other organisations who can support the initiative financially, or contribute some goodies for the bags in the coming months. The charity would like to reach as many older people as possible and any donations are hugely appreciated.

Age UK WSBH has been working throughout the pandemic to support older people across the local area. As we head towards the festive period the charity is keen to spread the word that people can turn to them if they are worried about fuel bills, if they feel isolated or need help. Many find Christmas a lonely time anyway and with Coronavirus still having an impact, Age UK WSBH’s work is vital. Services include telephone befriending, help at home, meal deliveries (including a festive meal), emergency welfare support and information and advice.

Anyone who needs support or who is worried about a friend or family member at this time can call 0800 019 1310 or email