Crawley pupils spread spirit of Christmas to care home residents

Pupils at a secondary school have been giving back to the community by helping spread joy for those who don't have family close by this Christmas.

Students at the Holy Trinity Church of England Secondary School in Crawley created gift packages for residents of Greensleeves care home in Southgate.

Headteacher Chrissie Millwood said: "We wanted to make those who receive the boxes feel appreciated at a time when some do not have anybody to turn to."

"This simple gesture that started with some shoe boxes and an idea, turned into a huge success, with the school community coming together to give back and make someone feel appreciated this festive season."

Tutor groups from Years 7 to 10 were given a shoe box and an information sheet, which told them which resident they would be creating a gift package for, as well as their interests and favourite things.

Letters and cards were also written to the residents, so the tutor groups could introduce themselves and wish residents a merry Christmas personally.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Chichester said: It's really encouraging to hear of these pupils looking out for others.

"Although this is traditionally a time for celebrating the birth of Jesus it can also be a time of challenge for many for a variety of reasons."

"Many of our schools and churches across the Diocese are reaching out to their communities at this time and even more so with the uncertainties brought about by the new Covid variant."

This year, Gary Gregeen, the diocesan rural officer and priest in charge of Asburnham and Penhurst, led a carol service in the Hailsham lifestock market followed by mulled wine and mince pies, with others hosting carols in the open air in churchyards, outside pubs and under the skylight.

Meanwhile, in Hove, St Andrew's has taken Advent out of the church and into the community by continuing an Advent calendar trail, with a different window decorated or lit up each day.

Some churches, including Willingdon, Uckfield, Gossops Green and Newick, have held Christmas tree festivals as a way of inviting the local community into the church.

In parts of Sussex, parishioners have also hidden angels, woolly sheep and other eye-catching Christmas symbols in roads and streets for children to find.

Christingle services have also been held across the region, with people gathering together to sing carols and light Christingles outdoors.