We were thrilled to host our very first packing session in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, on Friday 29th September, joined by volunteers from the local community. 

Last year, we took our first steps into Bedfordshire, following funding from The Fore, to expand our activities in this new area. Having spent 8 years working across Hertfordshire, it was a good opportunity for us as we looked to grow and extend our reach, and we were thrilled to successfully pack and distribute 1,000 Warm in Winter gift bags.

Sarah Neighbour, our Community Engagement Manager for Bedfordshire, has built fantastic connections and partnerships, enabling us to, not only continue our work this year, but grow further through the county.  

Sarah commented, “It was a very proud moment for me to be able to run our first packing session in Bedfordshire. Since June 2022, we have connected with over 30 organisations, who will all be distributing our Warm in Winter gift bags this coming winter.  It’s been heart warming to be so well received in our first year, and very special to be actually packing gift bags in the community that they will be going to. Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers, who joined us and packed an amazing 300 gift bags.”

Thank you to Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity for allowing us to use the space at Houghton Hall Park Visitor Centre, and for all of their help and support in the lead up to, and during the session.  We are also very grateful to All Aboard, who collected all of the stock needed for 300 gift bags from our HQ in Watford, and delivered it safely to Houghton Regis.  

On the day, there was lots of positive energy around the room as we welcomed new volunteers from Keech Hospice Luton, Ujala Wellbeing Club Luton and Houghton Regis Helpers as well as individuals and local Councillors Susan Goodchild, Chloe Alderman and Greg Alderman.

We are also extremely thankful for the continued support this year from Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, who collected 200 gift bags to distribute, as well as Houghton Regis Helpers, who took 40 gift bags on the day. 

In the coming weeks, we are planning on packing a further 1,700 gift bags for Bedfordshire, as the demand increases, reflecting the real struggle that older people face, no matter where they live.