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We've helped older people across Barnsley feel connected and loved this Valentine’s Day as part of our real love project.

Alongside the North West Church in Barnsley, including ourselves, Kexborough Methodist Church, Silkstone Common and Buckley Methodist Church, we've joined forces with local partners to deliver almost 170 cream teas on Valentine’s Day.

This project builds on the success of ourBarnsley Christmas 100 initiative we started in 2020 where over 50 Christmas meals and a further 100 New Year’s Day ‘buffet in a boxes’ were delivered to their community to see in the new year after what has been a very challenging 2020.

The project has been delivered thanks to support and funding from our church members, the Rotary Club and friends via Just Giving alongside a fantastic donation of 250 scones from Potts Bakers, Barnsley.

Almost 170 older people who are isolated or vulnerable have been referred to us by the Churches, Age UK, Barnsley Borough Council, Berneslai Homes, BIADs, Butterflies, Crossroads Care, Dial Barnsley, Making Space, and RNIB.

Delivered by an amazing network of over 100 volunteers, including 40 who delivered these gifts in-person on Sunday, this project has included over 1000 handmade craft items to give a personal touch.

The cream teas along with their handmade gifts were delivered during Sunday and included a socially distanced doorstep conversation with each recipient to ensure everyone had the personal connection many have missed even more due to Covid.

Alongside the special deliveries to older people at home, wider communities have also supported the project, local schools making almost 100 valentines cards; 14 residential care homes displaying our real love hearts; and Roots (our children's group) got involved delivering and leaving handmade hearts for sharing across the local community in parks, paths, passers-by and local neighbours.

Joan Booth, a member of Emmanuel’s Leadership Team said: “It’s been so great to see local people come together once again to give their time to support our most isolated in the community.

“Since Christmas we’ve gained new volunteers, new supporters, and more people to help.”

Carrol Cotton, North West Church older persons coordinator, said: “The support we’ve received from local agencies and local schools has been amazing.

“We’ve received some great compliments from the people we’ve delivered to. The conversations, the memory sharing and the feeling of being loved was seen in the joy on their faces.

“Our hope is to grow to support over 200 older people in our Easter initiative – watch this space!”

If you'd like to get involved in our Easter initiative - get in touch!

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