To end this challenging year on a high note, the team organised a bumper calendar of fun activities through December.
Aspen operates across the south, including offices in Beach Road, Littlehampton, supporting children and adults with disabilities, autism and associated learning needs.
The desperately-needed services it provides include round-the-clock residential care, a support helpline and a wide range of enriching activities.
Robert Shanahan, chief executive, said: “It has been a challenging year and the people we care for have been some of the hardest hit by Covid-19 in our society.
“I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication the Aspens team has shown in the most difficult of circumstances. We felt this year, more than ever, it was hugely important to encourage some seasonal jollity, so we came up with a calendar full of festive feel-good events that both our staff and the people we support could enjoy.
“Everyone has really embraced it and it’s been wonderful to see our Aspens family unite to celebrate the season. It has also been wonderful to receive the thoughtful gifts from the community which has really boosted the spirits of those we support and we are enormously grateful for people’s generosity and kindness.”
Mr Shanahan said the pandemic continued to have an enormous impact on the charity, so the team wanted to boost morale.
The festivities kicked off with Merry Quizmas, the charity’s first virtual quiz night, which was a great success and raised £1,000.
The following week, the challenge to create the most festive work or living area was set, with photos of beautifully-decorated trees and tinsel-laden spaces being shared.
There was Christmas Jumper Day in aid of Save the Children, a festive bake competition and a virtual Christmas community service on Zoom, replacing the traditional Aspens carol service.
The charity is grateful to the community for its support over Christmas, including nearly 200 toys and gifts from Bluewater Shopping Centre’s Giving Tree project and Hug in a Bag gifts from social care students at West and North Kent College.
A message from the Editor, Gary Shipton:
In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news, I am asking you to please purchase a copy of our newspapers.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspapers.
Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.
Stay safe, and best wishes.