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Christmas came early for local elderly and vulnerable residents living in the council’s extra care scheme, thanks to the kindness of Morrisons shoppers.

On Tuesday 22 December, Santa’s Little Helper – more fondly known as Morrisons’ Community Champion for Redditch, Beverly Allington, visited St David’s House and Queen’s Cottages to deliver a sack full of presents as part of a Secret Santa initiative.

Working with Bev, the team at St David’s placed the name of each resident on a gift tag with a suggested present and the tags were then hung on the Christmas tree in store. Morrisons customers doing their own shopping could choose a gift tag, buy a present for an elderly resident and be a true secret Santa.

Within just one week, the kind-hearted shoppers of the borough had bought gifts for each of the fifty residents on the tree and these were delivered by Bev this week so that all of the residents have a present in time for Christmas.

Cllr Craig Warhurst, whose portfolio covers Housing Services, said: “It has been a particularly hard year for elderly and vulnerable people living in the borough. Many have not seen their families or friends for many months and loneliness is a real concern. A huge thanks to the team at St David’s, the staff at Morrison’s and of course all of the wonderful shoppers who have helped share some happiness with those who need it most. More than ever, I am proud of our town and the community spirit of our residents. Thank you.”

Community Champion Bev, added: “We as a store, and myself as community champion, feel very proud to be a part of this wonderful community and of our very caring customers. Morrisons Redditch are pleased that our staff and customers could help by playing Santa and we wish all at St David’s and Queens cottages a very Merry Christmas.”

Every Morrisons store has a Community Champion who, in addition to their day job, works to raise money and awareness for local and national charities.

St David’s House and Queen’s Cottages is an Extra Care Housing facility which offers a new way of supporting tenants to live independently for as long as possible. It gives the security and privacy of a home of your own with a range of facilities on the premises and 24 hour care services available if needed.

Throughout the pandemic, staff at St David’s House and Queen’s Cottages have provided entertainment and activities for residents, whilst adhering to Government guidelines, to help reduce the impact of social isolation and loneliness. In the last six months residents have been able to get involved in socially distanced outdoor performances with live music, Easter Egg Trolley Run with a personalised Easter Card for each Tenant, VE day ‘in-room’ parties, in-room quizzes and singalongs and a socially distanced Rock and Roll event with live music.