This Christmas, older people spending the festive season on a ward in one of Leicester or Leicestershire’s hospitals will receive a gift bag of goodies donated by local people.

The 2017 ‘Making Christmas Special’ campaign sees Leicester’s Hospitals, Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) joining forces to spread a little cheer to older patients too ill to leave hospital to be at home with their families. Now in its fifth year, the campaign encourages the public to donate a small gift for hospital staff and volunteers to distribute on Christmas Day.

Last year local people showed their amazing generosity by donating over 1,300 gifts. The campaign was so successful that donated gifts exceeded the need in Leicester’s Hospitals and could be shared with some of LPT’s community hospitals. This year, LPT has joined the campaign, through which we aim to send gifts to all community hospitals and ensure that every older patient receives a gift.

Carole Ribbins, Deputy Chief Nurse for Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “Receiving a small gift on Christmas Day really means a lot to our patients. It is great to see their smiles when our nurses hand out the presents and we would be delighted if the local community could help us to ‘Make Christmas Special’ again this year for our older patients who are too unwell to be at home with loved ones.”

Tony Donovan, Executive Director at Age UK Leicestershire and Rutland, added: “We have again been overwhelmed with the generosity of local people and we are delighted to extend the donation of gifts to every hospital in Leicester and Leicestershire. I hope we can count on local people to get behind the campaign again in 2017 to make sure that we can deliver seasonal cheer to those who may otherwise have neither visitors nor a gift on Christmas Day. As always, our shops and resource centres will act as donation points across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland for anyone who would like to offer a small gift.”

Alison Reynolds, Volunteer Services Co-ordinator for Leicester’s Hospitals, explains: “Our volunteers are delighted to be involved in the Making Christmas Special campaign again this year. Our volunteers always make a difference to patients but delivering gifts for those who have to remain in hospital over Christmas is an extra special role.”

Nikki Beacher, Head of Service for Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust’s community hospitals, said “We are delighted to be involved this year. Not only will patients at each of Leicester’s Hospitals sites receive gifts but those elderly patients in the community hospitals will receive a present. We look forward to being involved in this campaign and can only reiterate and thank all those who donate.”

So how can you donate?

It’s really simple!

Download and print a gift tag here .

  1. Write your message on the gift tag and tick whether the gift is for a man or woman
  2.  Attach the tag to a small gift bag containing gifts. See below for a list of suggested gifts, and gifts we cannot accept.
  3. Take your gift bag/s to the main receptions at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester General Hospital or Glenfield Hospital or to any Age UK Leicester Shire and Rutland shop or resource centre in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
  4. Donations can be made throughout November and up until Thursday 14th December 2017.

Suggested gifts

Lip balms, hand lotions, foot lotions, hand wipes, soaps, body wash or deodorant, slipper socks or bed socks, chocolates, biscuits, sweets, cereal bars, Halal / Indian sweets (not homemade), cordials, original, herbal or flavoured tea-bags, hot chocolate or coffee sachets, pens, pencils, notepads, notelets, cards, books and puzzle books.

To prevent infection: we will only be able to accept new items in their original packaging and gifts placed in a gift bag and not wrapped in paper. All purchased food products must be in a sealed package and still in date.

Unfortunately we are not able to accept edible homemade gifts (cakes, sweets etc), electrical items, used books, DVDs or VHS tapes; denominational or religious material.

If you would like to spread the message wider,  you can download a campaign poster here.