Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s Community Co-ordination Hub has once again partnered with Norbrook for its ‘WeCare@Christmas’ campaign to deliver hot meals, food hampers and toys to families across the district.
In the seven weeks leading up to Christmas, volunteers from the Council and local Community and Voluntary Sector have delivered 250 fresh meals and approximately 1,600 toy and food hampers to local families and elderly residents.
Norbrook staff have given their time generously to make up the hampers, which were distributed by a wide range of Community and Voluntary groups and coordinated by the Confederation of Community Groups, County Down Rural Community Network, Community Advice and the Strategic Stakeholder Forum.
This is the third consecutive year that the project has been running, which was initially created due to the increased level of isolation amongst the elderly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, with the rising cost of food, this scheme is just as important as ever and in acknowledgement of this, Norbrook also expanded the campaign to include the provision of two Christmas Dinner events on its premises on 9 December and 16 December. Over 200 elderly residents were treated to a festive afternoon, hosted and catered for by Norbrook staff.
Denise Collins HR, Director, Norbrook said, “In recognition of the current cost of living crisis, Our WeCare@Christmas programme was expanded this year to support young and old in the wider community.
“Through the generosity of Norbrook and our employees, food and toys were donated to create hampers for families in need, while fundraising activities enabled us to prepare more hampers than ever before. Our amazing canteen team prepared and donated over 2,100 hot dinners to the community in partnership with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and local charities, while our first Senior Citizens’ Christmas Lunches were held on site, bring festive cheer to over two hundred senior citizens.
“Our WeCare@Christmas programme has grown from strength to strength each year and we are grateful for the support of the company and involvement of hundreds of employees whose generous donations and time show the true spirit of Christmas in our community.”
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Michael Savage said, “On behalf of the Council, I would like to express our thanks to Norbrook and to our Community Sector partners, the Confederation of Community Groups, County Down Rural Community Network, Community Advice Newry, Mourne and Down and the Strategic Stakeholder Forum for coordinating the Community response. Norbrook and its staff have very generously donated food, toys and their time in the weeks running up to the ‘WeCare@Christmas’ scheme. Through the scheme, Norbrook and its employees are making an important contribution in helping people during rising living costs while spreading some Christmas cheer to individuals and local families.”
Feedback from the scheme has been very positive. A recently bereaved husband was very touched to receive his dinners as he hadn’t the heart to cook for himself and didn’t want to be a burden on his children. He said, “It’s great to be part of a thoughtful community.”
Another recipient who looks after her two parents – one with Dementia – was delighted to be nominated to receive the lovely homecooked dinners for her mum and dad, “As the main career 24/7, it was lovely to have an evening with no cooking which meant I have more time for myself.”