STAFF at an award-winning packaging firm have once again played Santa - hand-delivering hundreds of hampers to the region's most vulnerable people.
The elves at The Wilkins Group, based in Colwick, Nottinghamshire, have put together 250 festive care packages full of winter essentials to help users of local homeless shelters, and other vulnerable people, get through the winter months.
It follows a similar, successful charity drive last Christmas, in which The Wilkins Group delivered 344 festive hampers to local Covid19 heroes and those most in need.
The latest packs contain a hat, gloves, thermal socks, toiletries including shower gel, toothpaste and a toothbrush, and snacks.
Among those set to benefit are users of Emmanuel House, Framework, The Friary, Men’s Complex Needs, Women’s Complex Needs, Hughendon Lodge, Nottingham Nightstop, The Arches and SOTA Sneinton Hermitage.
The generous donation comes after charities warned that they expect homelessness in Nottingham to increase past pre-Covid levels and that this winter could be the worst in a decade for rough sleepers.
A new kind of homelessness is presenting itself, with reasons including domestic issues, rather than substance misuse or mental health problems.
One recipient of a Wilkins care package, Sam, a service user at Emmanuel House support centre, in Goose Gate, said he had recently been released from a five-week prison term for a probation violation.
Sam said: "Last night I was on the Trent embankment in my sleeping bag.
"The toiletries will certainly come in handy. It's very kind of The Wilkins Group to do something like this. It means a lot."
Gill Barker, marketing and fundraising assistant at Emmanuel House, said: "The festive packages from The Wilkins Group are gratefully received by Emmanuel House support centre.
"The contents of the donations are amongst our most needed items and will be distributed to people using this service who are experiencing homelessness, in crisis, are rough-sleeping or at risk of homelessness.
"It will make a difference to the beneficiaries, who otherwise have no access to these basic supplies that many of us take for granted. This is particularly important at this time of year."
Justin Wilkins, sales and marketing director at Wilkins Group, said: “There’s no doubt that it’s been another tough year for many.
“Now, as we’re in the depths of winter, we find ourselves thinking more and more of others, and what we might be able to do to help them.
"I had no idea how many charities there were that help the needy in our city and county - it shows how much they are needed.
“As a local company, we are committed to giving back to our local community, and if these packs can put a smile on just one person’s face, then it’s worth it.”
Last year’s hamper initiative took place instead of The Wilkins Group creating sustainable gifts for its clients, which demonstrates the company’s eco-friendly approach to food packaging.
The Wilkins Group, crowned Family Business of the Year Award in Midlands Family Business Awards in 2019, has more than 500 staff across five sites around the world, running factories in Sri Lanka, China, and Bangladesh.
Its site in Nottingham produces food packaging for the UK’s leading supermarkets.
For more information about The Wilkins Group, please visit www.wilkins.co.uk