Normally each year The Watermark hosts a free Christmas Day Lunch for people in the community that want to spend time with others. With the pandemic again making group gatherings difficult, the community wanted to still do something again for people in Ivybridge who would otherwise be on their own on Christmas Day and who would appreciate some human contact.
Christmas Day Hamper Deliveries became the alternative once again this year – involving local volunteers delivering hampers to individuals, with a focus on having a chat on the doorstep and spreading some festive cheer.
The community were asked to step up and the response was phenomenal, with donations of goods and time coming in from all across the town. Ivybridge Community College set about asking their students to donate wrapped gifts; SoSocial Art Group made individual handmade Christmas cards; we received donations from MJ Baker, Caterfood, Co-op, Nature’s Larder, Ringtons, Tamar Fresh and Mrs Mottershead. Financial support was provided by DCC Cllr Roger Croad, SHDC Cllr Vic Abbott & SHDC Cllr Karen Pringle from their locality budgets and a generous sponsorship was received from Ivor Jones and Co. This enabled the hampers and some of the items to go inside to be purchased.
Around 30 volunteers put their names forward to do the deliveries and help pack the hampers.
On Christmas morning, the rain poured but the volunteers still donned their Christmas attire and set off out into the community to deliver 38 hampers across Ivybridge and spread a whole lot of festive cheer.
It was a wonderful display of community spirit and it wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of local groups, businesses, organisations and individuals coming together. The community owes a huge “thank you” to everyone involved.
Feedback from volunteers and recipients has been flooding in:
“Thank you to the nice guy who brought my hamper he was absolutely soaking wet as it’s been raining heavy all morning and it’s still raining now. I’m so lucky… caring human beings caring for their fellow humans just like me especially at this time of the year.” (recipient)
“I am absolutely delighted! I can't believe it but someone just called at my door and gave me a huge bag of goodies for Christmas... Someone wonderful was obviously thinking of me and I can only offer my heartfelt thanks to all those involved.” (recipient)
“We felt really good about doing something positive within the community on Christmas Day”. (volunteer)
The project was coordinated by the South Hams CVS Community Connector Jessica Shipp, So Social’s Shirley Weeks & Jonathan Parsons from Ivybridge Town Council.
If you are interested in getting involved in local volunteering opportunities, please get in touch. There are all sorts of opportunities in our community, from ad-hoc to regular.
Jessica Shipp, Community Connector, Ivybridge, South Hams Community and Voluntary Sector (CVS).