Durham students have sent care home residents Christmas cards and it’s the sweetest thing ever

Well that’s given me some Christmas cheer

Durham students and staff have been writing letters to local care home residents, in what must be one of the most heart-warming things to happen this year.

The initiative to spread festive cheer to those isolated in care homes was new this year, and saw hundreds of members of the university community get involved. Students were invited to write something about themselves and include a photograph and pictures if they wished.

After a quarantine period to make sure the process is Covid-safe, the cards will be delivered to care homes in unsealed envelopes so that care home staff may pair up letters with suitable recipients. It is hoped that both students and residents may find something in common thanks to the process, and help “nurture long-term links between particular colleges and care homes”.

Weiwei Su, a Geography student from Kent, said: “I got involved because I thought this would be a brilliant way to connect students and local communities, particularly during the current crisis.”

Lijie Dong, a Philosophy and Politics student from north-east China who is the current President of Durham University Student Volunteering and Outreach, said: “I wanted to connect with people and put a smile on their face.”

Elsewhere, student volunteers created a winter wonderland for families supported by Beyond Limits, a charity that operates in south Durham; and staff volunteers helped the charity Feeding Families sort Christmas food donations.

Both staff and students are supporting Children North East and REfUSE community café in Chester-le-Street through the University’s annual Christmas Wish Tree project.

Quentin Sloper, Director of Experience Durham, said: “Our students and staff are always very generous with their time and money in service of others and support a huge range of good causes.

“We know the Covid-19 pandemic has caused real misery and suffering for many in our local communities, and been a huge challenge for many charities too. We’re pleased to be able to show our support, especially in these tough times, and we wish every one of our neighbours and partners a very happy Christmas.”