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Making Christmas special for older people in hospital

Making Christmas Special 2018 posterx250
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 2018 ‘Making Christmas Special’ campaign sees Leicester’s Hospitals, Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) again 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 sixth 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 1,500 gifts - enough to ensure a present for every patient in our community hospitals, our MHSOP wards, and in UHL's three hospitals.

Carolyn Fox, chief nurse for Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “The ‘Making Christmas Special’ campaign highlights a real community spirit and we would be delighted if people once again decide to give a little to make a big difference to our older patients spending Christmas in one of our hospitals, instead of at home with their families. Receiving a gift on Christmas Day that has been generously donated means so much to our patients.”

Tony Donovan, executive director at Age UK Leicestershire and Rutland, added: “This campaign makes an enormous difference to older patients who have to spend Christmas in hospital and the generosity of the community always brings a smile to their face. We’re delighted to be working with Leicester’s Hospitals and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust to bring the Christmas spirit to what could otherwise be a lonely time. 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: “Nobody wants to spend their Christmas in hospital but unfortunately many are not well enough to go home. The generous donations of gifts from members of the public, staff and people from community groups and businesses make it possible for us to provide patients with some Christmas cheer. We have an amazing team of volunteers who help to check sort and count all of the presents and then deliver enough to each ward for every patient to receive a gift on Christmas morning. We do have guidelines for anyone wishing to donate gifts - these are available on our website. Thank you to everyone who supports us to Make Christmas Special.”

Nikki Beacher, head of service for community hospitals for Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, said “Our patients were thrilled to receive presents last year through the ‘Making Christmas Special’ campaign. It made a big difference to their experience of being in hospital at this time of year. We would like to thank all those who made donations last year and to those who will contribute this year. It really is appreciated by our patients.”

So how can you donate?

It’s really simple!

1. Visit the website of Leicester’s Hospitals ( or Age UK ( to download and print a gift tag

2. Write your message on the gift tag and tick whether the gift is suitable for a man, suitable for a woman, or suitable for anyone.

3. Attach the tag to a small gift bag containing unwrapped gifts such as lip balm, hand lotion, slipper socks, bed socks, biscuits, sweets, cereal bars, hot chocolate or coffee sachets, pens, pencils, and puzzle books. The websites have a full list of what could be donated and what we cannot accept.

4. Take your gift bag/s to the main receptions at the Royal Infirmary, General or Glenfield Hospital or to any Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland shop or resource centre in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

5. Donations can be made throughout November and up until Friday 14 December 2018.

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.


Can we say a massive thanks to all those who supported the 2017 appeal? We were able to give a present to every older person in an LPT bed (and to those in UHL beds as well).

200 Bennion

200 East Ward

200 Evington ward

200 Hinckley North Christmas

200 Rutland Christmas

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