Almond Housing Association has said it has been doing everything in its power to create a happy and safe Christmas for tenants this year with its Operation: Happy Christmas campaign. After a difficult year for many, Almond has distributed winter wellbeing packs, festive food parcels, and much more to local families over the Christmas period.
Caring for tenants aged 65+, the association has provided those most in need with a winter check from one of its colleagues in Almond Enterprises Ltd. This check involved:
• Stopcock identification
• Checking the property is secure
• Reporting any outstanding repairs
• Clearing any trip hazards on access paths
During this visit, a winter wellbeing pack was given to the qualifying tenant which included a thermal mug, teabags, room thermometer, cordial, a radiator reflector panel, antibacterial hand gel, a face covering, tissues, and a small festive gift. A total of 365 winter wellbeing packs went out to tenants.
As well as the winter wellbeing packs, Almond also provided winter ready packs for 30 tenants who were experiencing fuel poverty.
Almost 100 festive food parcels were delivered directly to tenants’ doors, providing them with essential store cupboard items to help keep them going over Christmas and the New Year. Community Engagement Officer Barbara Boertien worked with Housing Officers to make up packs for tenants in need.
Five-hundred selection boxes were also available for families in need and these were distributed alongside the festive food parcels and through the local community fridges.
Almond's board and contractors also contributed towards Operation: Happy Christmas, with Sidey Solutions Ltd providing 60 tins of soup, Everwarm Ltd providing 100 boxes of porridge and a £750 donation, and Response Building Maintenance Services provided 180 boxes of biscuits, treats and chocolate to be included in the various packs going out to tenants.
Alongside the official donations, Almond also welcomed tenants to come forward and 'Nominate a Neighbour' who might need an extra helping hand this festive season. This allowed the campaign to go directly into communities and benefit those most in need.
Almond also supported Riverkids and Financial Inclusion Network to secure gifts for tenants with children who might otherwise wake up to no presents on Christmas morning.
Family creativity packs were designed to give families some screen-free entertainment during the holidays. The packs were made up of traditional books, craft sets, paint sets, science kits, and games. There were different sizes of creativity packs to cater for all family sizes, meaning 40 large packs and 30 small packs could be distributed to those in need.
Due to Coronavirus restrictions Almond could not welcome tenants to the office for their usual Christmas event. Instead, it has created a digital Christmas which allows families to tune in on Facebook for storytelling sessions from Santa in the run up to Christmas.
There were no local pantomimes this year, so Almond also arranged for local schools to stream Jack and the Beanstalk to their classroom. Children could watch in school, and, if they were home sick or self-isolating when the stream was scheduled, the school could email a link to the parents so no one missed out.
Almond sponsored the local primary school’s Christmas tree. The school were creating an outdoor Winter Wonderland in the playground and Almond helped to secure a 10ft Christmas tree with lights.
Almond has been working hard through the coronavirus pandemic to help tenants in need. With the festive season fast approaching, it wanted to create a magical Christmas for as many tenants as possible, after a very difficult year for everyone.