Residents pay it forward and cheer the community

Happy older residents hold Christmas parcels

Abbeyfield recipients in Felsted with their gifts. - Credit: AMELIA WILLETT / ABBEYFIELD

When Debbie Hasler started the Dunmow and Surrounding Areas Pay It Forward group on Facebook in March, she had no idea it would become such a success.

The group, set up to provide food for those who needed it and to help with errands during the first lockdown, has now provided over 300 gifts to bring Christmas cheer to the community.

With the help of friend Amelia Willett, these gifts have been wrapped and handed out to care homes, to families and individuals.

Debbie said she was incredibly grateful to everyone who has pitched in to help. "This will make a huge difference to people who will not have family visiting them in care homes or sheltered accommodation or those that are struggling."

Debbie said that thanks to donations, and in conjunction with Darfrankos Bakery in Takeley, Christmas boxes will be delivered to people with food for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.


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Felsted resident Amelia, an administrator on the page, said her home had looked like "Buddy the elf's" with gifts and wrapping paper. The aim was to help the elderly, before the scheme snowballed. 

"I didn't expect it to go as well as it did. The aim was 100 people! Little did I know or even think that we would have 300 people and we would be reaching out to more and more care homes as the numbers went up."

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Donations included things like toiletries sets, chocolates, and biscuits and some included a greetings card or a child's drawing. 

They went to Oakroyd House Sheltered Housing, Boyes Croft and Redbond Lodge in Dunmow, Abbeyfield and Bings Hall in Felsted, and community members.

Amelia added: "We are doing something that is kind, constructive and giving back to the community. It doesn't take a lot to make people happy."

Cass Murray, manager at Abbeyfield House in Felsted, said: "This has put another smile on their faces. I am truly grateful for all the hard work that Amelia and Debbie and so many others who contributed towards this.

"Having neighbours that go out of their way to remember those, who sometimes get lost and forgotten in society, in the latter parts of their life, we are all just so thankful for their effort and the joy that they showed in doing this."

Presents near a Christmas tree

Gifts donated by members of the Dunmow and Surrounding Areas Pay It Forward Group. - Credit: DEBBIE HASLER

A bundle of Christmas presents

Gifts donated by members of the Dunmow and Surrounding Areas Pay It Forward Group. - Credit: DEBBIE HASLER

A large bundle of Christmas presents

Gifts donated by members of the Dunmow and Surrounding Areas Pay It Forward Group. - Credit: DEBBIE HASLER

Woman smiling

Debbie Hasler who set up the Dunmow and Surrounding Areas Pay It Forward Group. - Credit: DEBBIE HASLER

Woman smiling

Amelia Willett delivered gifts in a snowman top, sparkly jacket and Mini Mouse Ears on behalf of the Dunmow and Surrounding Areas Pay It Forward Group. - Credit: AMELIA WILLETT

Wrapped presents

Gifts donated by members of the Dunmow and Surrounding Areas Pay It Forward Group. - Credit: DEBBIE HASLER


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