St James' C of E Primary School deliver Christmas cards

School children spread record Christmas cheer to every resident at Lilian Faithfull Care homes

Children at St James’ C of E Primary School in Cheltenham have created more than 288 beautiful Christmas cards with festive pictures and a heartfelt message.

A lovely community Christmas project running for four years, has reached a record number of cards, with enough this year for each resident at Lilian Faithfull Care’s six care homes in Gloucestershire.

On Thursday, the Christmas project group visited one of our homes Faithfull House, local to them, to cascade their wonderful handmade cards to all. Residents and staff had a fantastic time with them, singing carols with the Mindsong Volunteers, passing the cards around, and having a tasty afternoon tea together.

For the fourth year running, Nathalie Dawson of the school’s Parent and Teacher Association (PTA) and Kate Berry from Officeworx Ltd, have collaborated and kindly organised this wonderful project, with school children sharing Christmas cheer and joy to local care homes residents.

Officeworx Ltd are a family run office supplies company in Cheltenham, with a long-standing connection and supplier to Lilian Faithfull Care charity, and a supporter of many other local charities.

The local family run company Officeworx and St James’ C of E Primary school, were first inspired to do the project in 2020. Kate Berry and her Officeworx families’ father, Mr Adkins, moved into Lilian Faithfull Care’s St Faith’s nursing home just before the COVID pandemic, and his grandchildren go to St James’ C of E school.

Nathalie Dawson, PTA Secretary, was keen to support school mum Kate Berry, her father and the care home residents, so jumped into action. The PTA rallied across the infants and junior and the children wrote Christmas letter to the children’s Grandfather, plus all residents living at St Faith’s nursing home in Cheltenham.

Every year since, the same community team and school children have kept the Christmas project going, and each year they’ve managed to write more. Last year they wrote 232 letters, enough for each of Lilian Faithfull Care’s residents in their Cheltenham care homes.

This year, the team have broken their record with 288 – enough for each resident across Lilian Faithfull Care’s care homes, of which there are now six in Cheltenham and Stroud. Bay Tree Court care home in Cheltenham is now part of the Lilian Faithfull Care charity’s family.

For a change this year, instead of a letter, a Christmas card template has been designed, for children to draw a festive picture on the front and a personal message inside, so they can easily stand on the care home residents’ tables. Officeworx Ltd kindly printed one for every student across the infants and junior school to do.

Since 2022, the Officeworx family now have their mother, Mrs Adkins, living at Lilian Faithfull Care’s residential home called Faithfull House in Suffolk Square.

On Thursday 21 December, the Christmas project group are visiting Mrs Adkins at Faithfull House care home and the 60 residents who live there with her. After school finishes, a small group of children, including Mrs Adkins’ grandchildren, will be hand delivering to Faithfull House residents their wonderful handmade cards. They are also joining them for a Christmas themed afternoon tea in the home’s dining room.

The rest of their fabulous cards will be distributed to the other residents by the charity.

Kate Berry commented,

“The help and support we have received from the teams at Faithfull House residential home and St Faith’s nursing have been superb. Dad and Mum who live in different homes due to their care needs, have settled in amazingly and are very fond of all the staff. Being part of the same charity, the care homes regularly arrange for mum and dad to meet each other and also put on birthday get-togethers for our family.”

The St James’ PTA group of volunteers is a registered charity, which raises money for the school through events and activities, to buy things not covered by the school budget. Alongside fundraising the PTA also enrich the educational and social life of the whole school community. And this long standing and supportive Christmas project is a shining example.

Each care home resident and member of staff at the charity are so thankful to Officeworx, the school, the PTA volunteers and all the children for their thoughtfulness and continued dedication to sharing their Christmas joy and spirit.

The cards have been delivered to all our care homes now and residents are delighted to receive and really enjoying their pictures and messages.