Derbyshire students learn about the tougher side of Christmas with annual donation featured image
Back to news

Derbyshire students learn about the tougher side of Christmas with annual donation

Students at Derbyshire’s The Ripley Academy learned about the tougher side of Christmas when they were visited by Derventio and made an annual donation of food and toiletries contributed by the school community.

Derventio Housing Trust gives accommodation to hundreds of people across Derbyshire and beyond who have recently been made homeless.

Eloise Taylor, head of sixth form at The Ripley Academy, organised the whole school to donate food and toiletries to people living in Derventio accommodation, in their 11th annual donation to the organisation.

Representatives from Derventio visited the school to tell students about what a positive impact their donations would have.

Darren Cox, who has recently moved under a Derventio roof and is accessing its other services after going through some tough times in his life, went to the school to help accept the donation and tell students about how much it meant to him.

Students heard about how Darren had himself slept out on the streets before being offered a place to stay with Derventio.

He told students of his own struggles with his mental health and how much the gifts would be appreciated by himself and two housemates, none of whom would be going to visit families this Christmas.

Ms Taylor said:

Every year we are proud to donate food and toiletries to Derventio Housing Trust and I know the gifts are much appreciated by people who have very little at Christmas.

“It was a real eye-opener for students to hear about Darren’s own situation and that of his housemates. It’s important for them – and for us all – to know that not everyone has families to visit at Christmas time. It is a time of giving and we really appreciate the visit from Derventio Housing Trust to let us know what difficult times some members of our community are going through.

Jackie Carpenter, assistant director of strategy at Derventio Housing Trust, said:

This is the 11th year that students at The Ripley Academy have kindly donated Christmas goodies and much-needed items to us and we really appreciate that they continue to keep us in their thoughts.

When we get excited about Christmas it’s important to remember that it can be a particularly hard time for those who have recently experienced homelessness and who haven’t necessarily got much in the way of comfort over the festive period.

Many thanks to students at The Ripley Academy for helping make things a little easier for our residents with their donations.

Derventio Housing Trust is currently running the Christmas appeal for its Sylvester’s Fund, which gives one-off donations helping get people back on their feet who have been through difficult situations.

The fund has helped well over 100 people this year with a wide range of items including a thermometer for a cancer patient; a pair of steel-capped boots to allow someone to take part in a tiling course, and a mattress for a person whose support worker noticed was sleeping on just a bed frame.

Sylvester’s Fund is named after former Derventio Housing Trust resident Sylvester Cichowski who left the organisation £4,200 in his will.

To donate, visit: