Students Show Their Caring Side

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Islay Student Hannah Hutchison with donations.

Argyll College students have been working harder than Santa’s elves this December, collecting and wrapping around 500 Christmas Gifts which will be distributed to elderly members of the community who may be vulnerable and living in isolation over the festive period.

The seasonal project is in support of the Campaign to End Loneliness and students, staff and members of the public have been leaving donations of non-perishable food and drink, books, toiletries or any small gifts at any Argyll College Centre in the run up to Christmas. The students wanted to find a way to show appreciation for older generations who’ve contributed to society and may now be without family at this festive time of year.

Local businesses have also been extremely supportive with donations of gifts from Purdies of Oban, and Labels Coffee Shop in Ballygrant, and Taynuilt based Sequence Ladies Choir. Tesco and the Co-op have supported the students by setting up a drop off points in stores in Oban and Islay.

Word of the students’ activities has even spread as far as Dumfries, and when Hilda McAdam heard about the campaign she sent selection of hand knitted hats, gloves and scarves.

Childhood Practice tutor Kerry McGeachy said ‘’ the support has been outstanding and we are truly humbled by the generosity of staff, students and the wider community.  We now quite literally have hundreds of gifts to be distributed throughout Argyll.’’

Kerry’s fellow tutor and Curriculum Lead for Care and Childcare, Kyla Steele said ‘’the activity links with many of the themes in a number of courses in the care sector and the students have taken this on wholeheartedly. Local businesses have also been supportive with donations and it’s great to see this kind of community spirit.’’

Social Services tutor Allan MacDougall is co-ordinating gift distribution with numerous organisations across the region to make sure the students’ gifts make it to deserving elderly residents in time for Christmas. According to Allan ‘’ all the local care organisations have been so enthusiastic about the project and so supportive which is great, especially at this time of the year when they are incredibly busy and have so much to contend with. The staff involved are really going the extra mile to help make this all possible.’’

Denis McGlennon, a representative of Carers Direct said, ‘’We are delighted that Argyll College students have decided to support the Campaign to End Loneliness, and the generosity of the businesses and communities of Argyll is extremely gratifying. These small gifts will help those older members of our community feel a little less isolated this Christmas.’’