On one of the coldest days of 2015, Lynne Misner’s (Small Acts of Kindness Founder and CEO) boiler stopped working and with no immediate fix available, she endured days of cold and misery.

As she wrapped up warm and huddled under blankets, she read how many old people spent every winter feeling as cold as she was now. Mostly living alone, they often could not afford to heat their homes adequately or had the perception that it was frivolous to do so.

Worse, at their age, such cold conditions could cause extra complications, both physical and mental.

What Lynne could also understand was the loneliness and isolation which those people were suffering. She had done voluntary work with older people before and now felt compelled to help, even if it was for a small group. 

That’s when she created the concept of ‘Warm in Winter’ bags, filled with essential keep warm items such as a blanket, warm clothes and hot drinks. Plus information packs which might help the recipients to break out of the cycle of cold and loneliness. 

After sourcing these supplies, friends and volunteers helped her to pack the first 50 bags and, with the help of local care organisations, she identified vulnerable members of the community who would be the first recipients. 

Almost immediately she started to receive heart-warming letters of thanks from people who were genuinely surprised that someone cared enough to give them such a gift. The packs had clearly made a difference to their lives. 

From this germ of an idea, Small Acts of Kindness was born. Around 1000 bags were packed and distributed the following year and that figure nearly trebled a year later. A second scheme was then launched, called Celebrating Christmas, which provided bags of appropriate items such as a Christmas card and beautifully hand wrapped gifts.

While such gift bags are at heart of the charity’s work, it is clear that the core benefit is helping older people to cope with their loneliness and isolation and helping them connect with their communities. We never forget that poverty, deprivation and loneliness are partners.

Lynne gave up her full-time job in 2017 to run Small Acts of Kindness, which was registered as a charity in early 2018. It is managed on a day to day basis by Lynne, supported the Trustees and a wonderful volunteer management team who are all intent on changing people’s lives.  

 

Award winning

We are honoured that others recognise our achievements and the impact of our work and we are delighted to have received the following prestigious awards

• British Citizen Award for Service to the Community

• Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards Community Champion 

• Age UK Spirit of Age Awards

• Hertfordshire High Sheriff’s Award

• Prime Minister’s Point of Light Award

• Watford Borough Council Audentior Award Finalist

• Best Business Woman Award Finalist Community Champion