Students mark 10 years of giving as they learn about being homeless at Christmas featured image
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Students mark 10 years of giving as they learn about being homeless at Christmas

Students heard first-hand how Christmas is a difficult time for homeless people when they marked 10 years of giving by holding their annual festive hamper donation.

Wayne Rodgers, who battled for years with alcohol addiction and spent many nights without own roof over his head, gave the students an insight into what life was like for him when he visited Ripley Academy last week.

Wayne, who now has his own permanent home, is a former resident of Derbyshire social housing provider Derventio Housing Trust, which has worked with the school since 2011 on a hamper donation scheme.

This year, the students, who are in the school’s Years 7 and 8, as well as its Sixth Form, donated more than 20 boxes full of food and essential items including toiletries, which will be given out to residents living in Derventio’s supported housing across the county.

The boxes were boosted by the efforts of one student, Alanna Tomlinson, who wrote to a number of firms to ask for donations and received a host of goodies in return, including a £10 gift vouchers from Farmfoods.

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

It’s wonderful to think that the students at Ripley Academy have been helping to make a difference to our residents’ lives for a decade now and have once again come up trumps.

This is such a difficult time for people who have been homeless, which is why we’re grateful to Wayne for having come along to talk about his experiences and put what their donations mean in context.

We’re particularly grateful to Alanna for showing initiative. Those extra items she was able to receive will make a big difference this year.

Eloise Taylor, head of Sixth Form at The Ripley Academy, said:

Wayne’s story really made an impression on our students and really showed them why giving something at Christmas can mean a lot to someone else.