Our aim is that every older person feels warm in their home and connected to their community.
We do this by sourcing and distributing practical gifts that reduce the negative impact that feeling lonely and isolated can have on older people’s physical and mental wellbeing. We have a special interest in helping older people who are cold in their homes. We also seek opportunities to connect communities with kindness.

Our current Small Acts of Kindness projects are:

Warm in Winter Gift bags

Many older people struggle to keep warm when the weather turns cold. Our future aim, each winter, is to source and distribute up to 10,000 Warm in Winter gift bags that will help older people keep warm in their homes.

Celebrate Christmas gift bags

Many older people have no one to celebrate Christmas with. Each winter we will give a bag full of hand wrapped presents to 500 older people who are alone at Christmas.

Small Acts of Kindness Ambassador

Sometimes we all need a little help and support and a few kind words can make all the difference. Our Small Acts of Kindness Ambassadors are local people who help us find other local people who might need a Warm in Winter gift bag. They also help to signpost the people who they connect with to local activities and services

Purple Pages Information Packs

Our Purple Pages Information Packs contain a wealth of carefully sourced literature about services and activities for older people. very often things that recipients hadn’t even previously known or thought about. The packs are delivered with every gift bag that we distribute.

How you can help

Our work has had a significant impact on the lives of some of Hertfordshire’s most vulnerable older people.

Our ultimate aim is to be able to source and distribute a Warm in Winter gift bag to every old person who needs one. With your help, we can make this happen.

£10    helps purchase gifts for an older person who would otherwise be alone at Christmas

£25    covers the cost of a gift bag that will help keep an older person warm this winter

£50    provides 10 older people with a blanket to wrap up warm in

£100  provides 20 older people with thermal gloves and socks and a warm hat

“I am overwhelmed at the super gift from you wonderful people. I am a widow and I have always managed but the last few years I have sat freezing or gone to bed early because I can't afford to heat my home. You are angels.”

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Warm in Winter gift bags

In total, since the Small Acts of Kindness first began in 2014, we have reached over 26,000 older people in Hertfordshire, many of whom are cold, lonely and isolated.

Most have struggled to keep warm in their homes during the winter months. Some were faced with the almost unimaginable and impossible choice between heating their homes and buying food.

Being cold can lead to health risks such as raised blood pressure which can result in and increased risk of strokes, heart attacks and falls.

Our Warm in Winter gift bags contain essential practical keep warm items for older people including; a fleece blanket, thermal hat, gloves, socks and leg warmers, a mug and hot drinks.

They are distributed free of charge to older people aged over 55 across Hertfordshire.

These gift bags are an intervention that can help reduce the risks that older people face when they are cold.  

For some older people they could be a life saver.

Additionally, all gift bags contain our comprehensive Purple Pages Information Pack of literature that signposts them to relevant activities and services for older people, helping to break the cycle that loneliness and isolation can bring.

Recipients of Warm in Winter gift bags:

  • Are warmer in their homes with the associated reduced risk of cold-related illness or seasonal death.
  • Feel less lonely and isolated.
  • Have increased feelings of wellbeing.

Here are some of the comments received from grateful recipients:

 “It will keep me warm during the winter months”.

“Better in mind and spirit, a cheery reminder of the goodness of people.”

“Such a pleasant surprise. Just like Xmas of my childhood. I enjoyed it immensely.”

“It made me feel good, the day the lady came I was feeling unwell and it perked me up to know there are such kind people.”

“A lovely surprise, you have covered everything for external and internal warmth.”

Celebrate Christmas gift bags

Research by Age UK revealed that over 400,000 older people each year dread the prospect of a lonely Christmas.

23% of over 65s (that is 2.5 million people in the UK) say that the festive season is not a happy one for them.

Our Celebrate Christmas gift bags contain beautifully hand wrapped gifts such as a scarf, puzzle book, pen, biscuits, chocolates and mince pies as well as a signed Christmas card from our team and are free of charge to the recipient.

The bags also include a ‘Gift for Giving’ – an additional small gift and card that recipients can give to a friend, neighbour, carer or family member.

They are distributed to older people who would otherwise be alone over the Christmas period.

 “I felt like a child opening a Christmas stocking! It brought a smile to my face and made me realise that there are lots of kind people around.”

“It was a nice surprise and cheered me up loads. I've kept the Christmas presents to open on Christmas day. Wonderful boost to my day. Thank you.”

Small Acts of Kindness Ambassadors

Loneliness and social isolation are harmful to health: research shows that lacking social connections is as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Holt-Lunstad, 2015). Social networks and friendships not only have an impact on reducing the risk of mortality or developing certain diseases, but they also help individuals to recover when they do fall ill (Marmot, 2010).

GPs say that one in ten people they see have attended the surgery mainly because they are lonely (Campaign to End Loneliness 2017).

Small Acts of Kindness Ambassadors are our ears and eyes in the community. They tell older people about Small Acts of Kindness and share their knowledge about local activities and groups. Nobody knows more about the area they live in than the people who live there. Our ever-growing family of Ambassadors connect communities with kindness.

A gift of just £15 will help reduce the loneliness and isolation that so many older people face and enable us to support an Ambassador for a year.

“It's easy to feel lonely and "forgotten" as you get older and this lovely gift shows there are people out there who care.”

Purple Pages Information Packs

In an age where often the first place to look for information is online; many older people face digital isolation simply because they have less access to the internet and are not as digitally literate as those who have grown up in a digital age. They need information to come to them and this project offers multiple opportunities for that to happen.

This is an innovative project because it works in partnership with information and service providers to take information directly to vulnerable older people rather than expecting people to decide for themselves what information they need and then find out how and where to access it.

Our Purple Pages Information Packs contain a comprehensive range of literature about services and activities provided by national and local organisations that are relevant and useful to older people and always with a telephone contact. Information packs are hand-delivered, to older people aged 55 and over, throughout Hertfordshire, alongside our Warm in Winter gift bags and are also available as a standalone item. Our aim is to distribute up to 10,000 Purple Pages Information Packs each year, alongside our gift bags or as a standalone item to those who need information but not a Warm in Winter gift bag.

“I loved everything but especially the leaflets. Lots of information about what's going on in Hertfordshire.”