3 Things a Love Norwich Christmas Hamper is (that you weren’t expecting)

December 2015 saw our biggest ever Christmas Hamper appeal with 180 vulnerable families receiving a luxury hamper filled with everything needed for Christmas dinner.

But a Christmas Hamper is more than just a box of food, it’s a…

1)  Stress Reliever

Every parent wants to give their children the best – especially at Christmas. But where there’s financial uncertainty and an unclear future where living accommodation is concerned, parents can’t always give their children everything they want to give them.

This year a Christmas hamper  made one mum more relaxed and ‘didn’t feel like she was letting her children down.’

2) Door Opener

Our partner organisations work with vulnerable families, all of whom are facing unique struggles and experiencing difficult times. Sometimes families in these situations are reluctant to receive the help they need…

“By delivering the hamper to one of my families I was able to gain a bit more trust where they had previously refused any help. Now we are able to support them around a range of difficulties.” – Charity Worker (from a partner organisation)

3) Special Moment Bringer

Last week, a mum with a disability (whose children care for her) told her case worker about her Christmas…

“I used some of the biscuits and chocolates as extra presents for the children from Father Christmas and I wrapped some up for me and my husband and told the kids they were from Father Christmas too! (The children thought that was amazing!)

The children told me that they had the best Christmas ever – they tried Christmas Pudding for the first time and they’re still talking and laughing about how much fun they had pulling crackers and how silly they looked in their Christmas hats.”

 

Thank-you to everyone who donated food items and money and to our volunteers who packed, wrapped and distributed the hampers – without you a ‘Christmas Hamper’ is just an empty box.

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Who Receives a Christmas Hamper?

Many of the Christmas Hampers we give out go to families where  there is a younger carer.

A young carer is a young person who cares for a parent with a serious, debilitating health condition and last year our Christmas Hampers made a tough time of year a little easier.

Our partner organisation, Norfolk Carers Support told us the following stories (the names have been changed).

“Sarah cares for her mum and dad who are both very unwell.  Sadly, her dad passed away at the weekend so Christmas is going to be an especially hard time for the family.”

“Alice cares for her dad who suffers from M.E.  There will just be the 2 of them at Christmas and they are under a large financial strain at present due to issues with dad’s benefits and have been in receipt of food bank vouchers.”

“Jenna cares for her mum who suffers from bipolar and is going through a particularly tough time at the moment. She lost both her nan and father earlier this year.  The family are currently in receipt of food bank vouchers so are unlikely to be able to have any luxuries this Christmas.”

“Lucy cares for her mum. Mum is very down at the moment as she is suffering from infections in both of her legs.  Lucy lost her dad  earlier this year who was a massive support to her and her mum and they are not looking forward to Christmas this year without him.”

A Christmas Hamper may just be Christmas dinner in a box but it says:

‘We’re thinking of you, we value you, and you are not alone.’

If you would like to get involved or have more information, please email jamesmarlow@lovenorwich.org

 

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Community Gardens Before & After

TreeFelling

Timber!

If there’s one thing our Street Team loves, it’s a little bit of gardening!

Whether it’s a spot of weeding (see below) or felling a tree, our volunteers always get stuck in and do a great job.

The (ex) tree belonged to an elderly couple who couldn’t see the wood for the trees as this particular piece of timber was blocking sunlight in their living room and….

Weeding1 Weeding2

…this garden belongs to a family who have just had a little boy. Plenty of room to run around in now!

If you live in the Piling Park area and could use an extra pair of hands (with green fingers!) then email jamesmarlow@lovenorwich.org and we’ll see if we can help make your job a ‘good’un’ !

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Restore Someone’s Faith in Humanity: Christmas Appeal 2015

It’s the most wonderful time of the year (almost!) so it’s time to launch this year’s Christmas Appeal and it’s going to be bigger than ever!

Last year we transformed Christmas for 116 of the most vulnerable families in Norwich through our gift of a Christmas Hamper aka, “Christmas Dinner in a Box” and this year we are aiming for 250.

You might be thinking, ‘This is a nice thing to do but what is one good meal really going to change?’

That’s a good question – especially when a Yule Log and box of chocs doesn’t seem like a big deal but perhaps a message from a hamper recipient from last year will make you think again:

“I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, I received a hamper tonight through
young carers which my son and daughter attend. Due to various illnesses and the financial struggle that goes with it, this Christmas has been the hardest one I’ve had to face. I’ve had to sell personal items to buy presents and times have been so difficult recently that I have gone without food to make sure the kids eat…I’ve even been so desperate that I had even had suicidal thoughts…Which brings me to this evening…I received the most amazing gift of a hamper and it has restored my faith in humanity and I’m actually looking forward to Christmas now as I can provided a decent and full Christmas meal and treats…I will never forget this as long as I live.

250 hampers = an estimated 1000 people who know they’re valued and not forgotten at Christmas time.

That’s one heck of a Christmas message but we need your help to deliver it.

Here is a list of all the items going in each hamper, we hope you can help!

 

Tub of gravy granules

Box of stuffing

Bottle of Shloer/sparkling apple

Tub of custard

Large bag of crisps/savoury snacks

Box of Christmas Crackers

Christmas Cake/ Chocolate Log

Christmas Pudding

Jar of cranberry sauce

Box of mince pies

 

Watch this space for info on how to take the Hamper Appeal into your workplace.

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Enthusiasm, Energy and Cheerfulness

MileCross2015

Our amazing volunteers at the Mile Cross Festival

Last weekend we sent our Love Norwich volunteers to the Mile Cross Festival. It was a fun filled day and a fantastic opportunity to help invigorate community spirit in the festival’s 33rd year!

One of the festival’s organisers said this of our volunteers:

“As usual, everyone came with bounding enthusiasm, energy and cheerfulness…  The time that the team gave up on Saturday really does make a huge difference to the community in helping to deliver a fun family day out to celebrate community spirit in Mile Cross….  THANK YOU!!”

Love Norwich was privileged to be part of the day and so proud of our volunteers. Bring on next year!

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Community Hero 2015

Being a dad means being a hero, that’s why this Father’s Day we honoured a local dad with the first ever Love Norwich Community Hero Award.

Way back at our GOOD Friday Servolution event we asked the people of Pilling Park to nominate who they thought of as a hero in their community and amongst all the nominations one man stood out.

This individual received three nominations and each for a different reason, exemplifying the title ‘Community Hero’. He’s generous with his time, skills and resources – whether that’s helping a neighbour with their garden or cycling over 3000 miles in aid of a charity supporting Leukaemia sufferers.

We presented our hero with a voucher for Homebase and a meal out, courtesy of Intu Chapelfield along with a certificate commemorating the award celebration at Proclaimers’ Father’s Day service last Sunday. When he took to the stage, our hero was met with a standing ovation just moments after settling his infant son, because whether they’re in the limelight or not, dads are always heroes.

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Christmas Appeal 2014: ‘Something I Will Always Remember’

I was not expecting anything from anyone and this will be something I will always remember. - A Christmas Hamper Recipient

Our 2014 Christmas Appeal brought festive cheer to 116 families across Norwich last December. That’s over 450 individuals - sons, daughters, mums and dads who could stop worrying about where Christmas dinner was coming from and focus on what really matters at Christmas time: Family.

Families who received hampers were ‘overwhelmed with the generosity’ and one parent described the hamper as a ‘lifeline’.

These are just some of the reactions of parents as they received a hamper:

‘Brilliant, this is great we didn’t expect anything but this will make things that bit easier, I can’t thank you enough.’

‘Thank you so much, this will make our Christmas extra special, especially as I have children. This had been a really difficult time for us and had recently moved which was a stressful time, so to have food to really enjoy made it all more enjoyable.’

After bursting into tears one parent says ‘please thank everyone, this is brilliant, the things everyone has done for us is so nice.’

Many of the hampers went to families where the parents have debilitating illnesses and are cared for by their children. These are families under constant pressure: medical pressure, emotional pressure, financial pressure. It was our privilege to lighten the load, if only a little, for these families at a particularly stressful time of year.

We would like to thank our partner organisations for connecting us with the families who received the hampers as well as the incredible generosity of those who donated food, money and time to the appeal.

2014′s hampers were made up of over 1400 individual food items marking a 78% increase in the number of families whose Christmases were transformed and lives were touched.

However, there are many more families in need of our support, so for Christmas 2015 help us give a family who feel forgotten something they will always remember.

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Christmas Appeal 2014

We are excited that it is that time of year again to launch our annual Christmas Hamper Appeal!!

Every Christmas we look to help families who are facing hardship by providing them with a luxury Christmas Hamper in a box. From packets of stuffing, to tubs of custard, cranberry sauce and a voucher to cover the cost of perishable items our hampers are packed and wrapped as beautifully as we can and delivered via our partner organisations.

From school children, office colleagues, flatmates in university halls of residence, it’s the people of Norwich who meet this appeal.

If you and your friends/family/colleagues want to get involved we are looking to collect:

  • Gravy Granules
  • Boxes of stuffing
  • Sparkling apple drink
  • Custard
  • Savoury snacks/crisps
  • Tin of chocolates
  • Biscuits/tin of shortbread
  • Christmas crackers
  • Christmas cake
  • Christmas pudding
  • Mince pies
  • Cranberry sauce

Items can be dropped off at our base The Space, Roundtree Way, Norwich, NR7 8SQ.

Merry Christmas!!!

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Chamber of Commerce supports Shine

On Thursday May 15th we had the great honour of being the sponsored charity at the Chamber of Commerce Networking Business Breakfast.

It was a phenomenal opportunity for us to be able to share a message of value and worth to all the many professionals in the room. We are so aware that the issue of one’s own intrinsic value effects every person and we want to spread the message of Shine – that you have worth, that you have value, that you are one-of-a-kind – as far as we can.

We then shared about what Shine is and how the courses are run.

We were overwhelmed by the response during the networking time with so many people offering to get behind what we do and support us. It’s great to see how the business world in Norwich are passionate about empowering the women of our fine city to know their true worth and value.

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Two powerful words

We recently completed the first session of one of our latest ShineGIRL courses with a group of girls who were all new to us and we were struck by the response of one of the young girls at the end of the first session.

We spent this session discussing the issue of value and what that means, explaining to each of the girls that value isn’t about your circumstances, your looks, what people say about you or how people treat you but that your value is intrinsic.

After lots of fun together we wrapped up the session as we do every session with every group asking the girls before they left if anyone had a question they would like to ask or comment they would like to share. One of the young girls response hit us.

“Thank you”.

Such simple words but if you could have been there! The expression on her face, the tone of her voice, the look in her eyes – it was such a heartfelt, sincere and deep expression of gratitude that we had told her she was valuable that it really took us back!

The message of shine is so simple: you have worth.
The response of this girl was so simple: thank you

The impact on her life I really believe has been life-changing.

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