In a heart-warming seasonal initiative, Folkestone-based Aspire Home Carers joined forces with the Rainbow Centre in a bid to help the homeless over t​​​​he Christmas and New Year period.

From right: Aspire’s Carmella Martin, Rainbow Centre’s John Burgess, Carmella’s daughter Florence and Aspire Carer Bobbie.

The award-winning care business distributed rucksacks filled with essential items for those without a roof over their head. The rucksacks are the inspiration of Bluey the Adventure Bear who has enlisted the help of Aspire’s clients and staff, as well as those from sister company, Pelham House Care Home.

“This is a great way for a care business to extend its effort outside of its normal work remit,” says Aspire’s Manager, Jayne Chadwick. “There are many homeless in the town who need help, and this is a practical way that our team has been able to do something positive to make lives a bit better at this time of year.”

The Aspire team delivered Bluey’s Rucksacks to the Rainbow Centre on Christmas Eve, and then onwards to people they found rough-sleeping in the run-up to Christmas, and the staff of Pelham Care Home and Aspire Home Carers have put together packages for the bags. They have collected items including squares of crochet which have been sewn together by the skilled craftiest Bernie, a carer at the Home.

Items provided in the rucksacks included:

Food: Tins of soup, fruit, vegetables, honey, tea, coffee, jam, tinned milk and sweets

Toiletries: Toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, deodourant, shampoo, shower gel, sanitary towels, flannel, comb, hairbrush, towel, disposable razor

Clothes:  Gloves, scarves, socks, underwear, woolly hats, blankets

Pet care:  Dog food, treats, poo bags, collar, lead, coats, pet blankets

Other items:  Sleeping bags, forks, spoons, tin opener, pen & paper, bowl, drink bottle.

“Our staff have been busy knitting squares for blankets, so it has been a real team effort to help to bring a little comfort to those in the community who are less fortunate,” says Jayne.

Florence, Carmella and Bobbie organise the rucksacks before delivery to the Rainbow Centre.

“One of our clients, Lilly, who died in the summer was one of the originators of the Rainbow Centre with her husband back in 1992, so this is a cause which is close to Aspire’s hearts. We are hoping that Bluey’s special rucksacks will help to bring some relief to the hardship of their recipients in the coming weeks.”

Ali Chambers, Chief Executive of the Rainbow Centre said: “We are extremely grateful to the staff team and clients of Aspire Home Carers and Pelham House Home Care for their support of our homeless clients.  As the weather gets colder, life is particularly challenging for anyone who is living on the streets and this imaginative, practical initiative will go a long way to helping our clients who faced the festive season without adequate accommodation.  On behalf of everyone at the Rainbow Centre, we’d like to say a huge thank you for your support.”

Tireless Mayor of Folkestone and District Councillor, Jackie Meade was suitably encouraging of the two organisations’ effort.

“With colder winter weather, it gets harder for those unfortunate enough to find themselves without a secure roof over their heads,” she said. “I absolutely support the Rainbow Centre and Aspire Home Carers for thinking out of the box and distributing rucksacks with necessary items to the homeless in the area. I know it will be very welcome to those in need and I, as Mayor, thank them.”

Aspire Home Carer’s Manager, Jayne is a winner of this year’s Kent’s Unsung Heroes Award as well as a finalist in the Manager of the Year category in last month’s Great British Care Awards.

Aspire Home Carers is Folkestone’s leading home care business which specialises in caring for those with early stage dementia. The business provides the full range of care services, from companionship and shopping through to respite, home-from-hospital and palliative care. Aspire’s philosophy of care is not just maintaining health and well-being, but improving it to ensure that every client enjoys a happy and dignified life. To find out more about Aspire’s Home Carer service please give us a call  on 01303 258348.