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Longhurst Group joins forces with Derby City Council to bring Christmas cheer to isolated residents

More than a dozen vulnerable and lonely Longhurst Group customers have been given a hot meal as part of a Christmas Cheer campaign in Derby.

Recognising that mental health and isolation could be a problem across the city over the festive season, Derby City Council launched the Christmas Cheer campaign to ensure more than 850 residents in the city, who had all been identified as lonely or vulnerable, were not left out over the festive period.

They wanted to bring some form of normality to residents who may have struggled during Christmas and we’re delighted to have been able to support the campaign with a £1,000 contribution.

As well as the three-course Christmas meal, each resident was also given a card, a small hamper, access to online entertainment packages, craft packs and a series of safety information leaflets.

A number of other organisations, including Derby County Football Club, the Food 4 Thought Alliance and Derby College were involved in making the project a reality.

Maurice Hegarty, Community Investment Lead for the West region, said: “When I heard about the Christmas Cheer campaign, I thought it was absolutely fantastic and was something I was keen for us to get involved in.

I’m delighted we were able to secure a £1,000 contribution towards the programme and it’s brilliant that some of our own customers are among those residents to benefit from the hot meals and entertainment packages.

“These individuals were all identified as being lonely or vulnerable through the wellbeing calls that we’ve been carrying out as a Group throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, so it’s great to know they’re getting some additional support.

“This campaign, and the joint working between a number of different organisations across Derby, is a perfect example of how we can form partnerships and support those living in our communities.

As a Community Investment Team, we want to be able to improve the communities we serve and by working as part of campaigns such as Christmas Cheer, we’re not only helping our customers, but the wider community as a whole and that’s great to see, especially at Christmas time.

“I hope everyone who received a hot meal and all the other gifts enjoyed them and that they helped make a difference at what could’ve been a difficult time for them.”

The meals were distributed to residents between Monday, 14 and Friday, 18 December.

Councillor Jonathan Smale, Cabinet Member for Communities, Neighbourhoods and Streetpride and Derby City Council said: “This is such a fantastic idea.

Having to cancel Christmas parties for lonely and isolated residents has been one of the hardest parts of this pandemic, so hats off to the Neighbourhoods team for coming up with the great alternative that is bringing so many people together.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to Longhurst Group and all the businesses and community groups who have come together to make Christmas Cheer possible. It really is a heart-warming story.”

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