Arundel Community Aid’s goodie bag service extended

Arundel Community Aid’s goodie bag service over Christmas proved such a success, it has been extended until the end of January.

The group, based at St Nicholas Parish Church, Mark Phillips, Gemma Odde and the St Nicholas Support Hub, were assisted by a team of volunteers to provide gifts and friendly chats to those who needed support over the festive period.

Mark said: “In these exceptional times, there may be people in our local communities who need support, both physically and emotionally. In a small way, the goodie bag service on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day met this need and we are grateful to everyone who assisted in putting this initiative together.

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“All the volunteers kindly gave up their time to bring some festive cheer to those people who may have faced Christmas alone or missed out on their community Christmas dinner events this December due to Covid regulations.

Some of the made-up Christmas goodie bags awaiting delivery by Arundel Community Aid, Mark Phillips, Gemma Odde and St Nicholas Support Hub

“Friendly phone calls were also provided to those who wished for one.

“Larkins store in Tarrant Street really stepped up to the mark making up the contents of the bags for us, while further gift bags were donated by the Post Office.”

Each bag also contained a special handmade card by Isla Stacey, six, and her sister Paige Stacey, four.

Many volunteers said they enjoyed lovely, socially-distanced chats when delivering the bags and witnessed the smiles that came across people’s faces as they investigated the contents.

For some, the gift and being able to engage with the volunteer bringing it was the highlight of their Christmas, as they would otherwise have been totally alone.

Mark added: “As this pandemic continues, if we can support wellbeing and mental health, even in a small way, as well as assist the vulnerable and those in need, then this is a step in the right direction.

“Recognising how important this is, we have decided to extend the goodie bag service for the rest of January.

“Thanks once again to the Arundel community for being so kind and caring - another example of their reputation for pulling together when help is needed. The project is only a success because of the community spirit and the team effort.”

If you live or know someone who lives in the Arundel parish who would benefit, email [email protected] to request a goodie bag and/or phone call. You can request this for yourself, or be nominated by a family member, friend or neighbour.

If you require the services of an Arundel volunteer to assist with shopping, dog walking, collecting prescriptions, etc., telephone Fiona at the parish office on 01903 882262.