Gloucester’s most vulnerable receive Christmas cheer from business

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Children, families, and some of Gloucester’s most vulnerable were all given a little Christmas cheer ahead of the festival period by a business from the city and its partners.

When RES Design & Build’s new business partner, Gloucester City Homes (GCH), mentioned a possible donation towards a Christmas tree for one of its residents’ community rooms it quickly snowballed into much more.

Nick Gwilliam, who runs the independent Highnam-based construction and architectural firm, said he thought his firm could do better than that – and after a conversation with another business partner, Wales & West Utilities, the pair were soon beginning to fill 100 gift boxes.

“The RES team have all witnessed first-hand the mental strain and effect the pandemic has had on people, particularly during a time at Christmas where people can feel quite lonely.

“It has been a hard year for a lot of people, but especially for some of the people we have been putting these gift boxes together for,” said Nick Gwilliam, who was at Clapham Court in Kingsholm with colleagues, representatives from Wales and West Utilities and GCH, to help deliver the presents.

“A lot of them are in the position they are in through no fault of their own. We gave some of the boxes out to children at another address, some who have no parents over Christmas, and other families who have suffered all sorts of really serious issues.

“It makes you think when you meet them. No one will be visiting them this Christmas and a lot of them will be going without. Hopefully what we have all done together will bring a little bit of joy.”

Staff at RES, and their friends and families, brought items for the boxes with Wales and West Utilities donating bags of containing items including blankets, flasks, gloves.

The two businesses had even hired a hot food van to provide free lunches for anyone who wanted it as they turned up to hand out the gifts.

“For me, this is amazing to see some of our contractors really working in partnership to make sure our tenants have a really good Christmas,” said Mandi Holt, from the Gloucester City Homes community investment team who helps look after the 80 properties at Clapham Court Alone.

Ryan Gwilliam, a front-line manager at Wales & West Utilities, Bristol, said: “Wales and West is really pleased to have made a contribution. As soon as we got talking to RES the business agreed to donate 100 of our special bags of supplies.”

Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester, said: “It is great to see businesses making Christmas special by helping like this – whether RES with GCH at Clapham Court or Mecca Bingo with Butler’s and the Redwell Centre. This is a city whose businesses have a big heart.”

Nigel Birch, one of the residents of Clapham Court who received one of the boxes, said: “Normally we would have a Christmas tree in the communal area, and maybe a bit of a get together there. But we can’t do that this year, so this is great.”

How would Christmas be without the recognition from RES, Wales and West Utilities, coordinated by staff from GCM?

“In a word, ‘lonely’,” said Mr Birch.