Kingston sewing group organising Christmas presents for care homes

A Kingston based volunteer sewing group is raising funds to lift the spirits of care home residents and staff in the area this Christmas.

Sewing4Kingston have formed RBKares, a project set up to raise £10,000 to provide gifts for the most isolated residents and the 2000 staff across all 44 care homes in Kingston upon Thames.

Formed in April, the group made headlines during the first period of lockdown after sewing over 40,000 items for frontline workers, including scrubs, bags and face coverings.

With the pressure for supplying such provisions now eased, co-founder Dr Kate Kenyon explained why it was important to show appreciation for care homes this Christmas, starting with those who work there.

She said: “We have heard the most amazing stories of staff, who because they had risks at home, had moved out so that they were shielding for the residents which is just beyond lovely.

“They really have gone above and beyond so our primary thing was saying thank you to those carers, we know you are there, we have not forgotten about you, and we’re grateful for you looking after our relatives.

“So we’ll get them nice gifts because we’ve got a lot of people who are just being incredibly kind. A lot of people have got relatives in care homes or have lost people to COVID that they haven’t been able to visit and I think that really strikes a heart with them.”

Presents are also being organized for the most isolated care home residents, those who rarely host visitors or have families, with the group contacting each care home to handle specific requests.

Such wishes have featured a bicycle and a signed Chelsea Football Club poster, whilst one resident’s request was for his letter to be delivered to Santa.

Other gifts that donations will fund range from personalized candles and chocolates to Christmas jumpers and gourmet hampers.

RBKares also plans to arrange for ‘Jolly Trolleys’ to be introduced in some care homes, a resident-favourite alcohol drinks trolley that is brought round to cater for specific desires, from whisky to Dubonet.

Local businesses have chipped in to sell their goods to the group at stock prices, whilst nearby schools have been asked to send in personalized Christmas cards for residents and carers alike.

Having navigated the logistics of distributing so many items earlier in the year, as well as the sanitary procedures, Kenyon is confident the volunteers can meet their targets.

She said: “Everything needs to be wrapped with it’s card and delivered to a care home by the 17th so that gives us nearly 2 weeks to do all the transporting, picking up, dropping off, and linking with cards.

“It’s about 2500 people altogether so it’s an awful lot. It is a big ask but we’ve got a lot of innovative people around and we’ll try and get there.”

Those wishing to donate can do so here.

Featured image credit: Sewing4Kingston

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