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Student council club together to provide gifts to care home in Doncaster, with help from special guests

22 December 2023

Students from the Club Doncaster Sports College student council, have been coming up with a way of giving back to the local community this year. 

After discussing ideas of what they could do to help those in need, this Christmas, they settled on creating small gift hampers for people during the festive season. 

They were helped along the way with their idea, by Doncaster Rovers’ first team players, Jack Degruchy and Ben Close, who attended the Christmas wrapping afternoon at the Eco-Power Stadium earlier this month.

With festive songs playing in the background, Close and Degruchy, along with students and staff, worked together to sort out the items that had been donated and collected, into groups. With an array of items from books, to shower gel and even items of clothing, the gifts were wrapped and piled up, ready to be delivered. 

Following a post on social media, which gave those in the local community the chance to reach out, students settled on Dunelm’s delivery joy appeal and Benton House nursing home in Rossington to deliver the gifts to. 

Students and staff stopped by Dunelm’s store on Wheatley Hall Road to drop off a big box of presents, before meeting up with both Close and Degruchy earlier this week, to hand deliver the gifts to residents at Benton House. 

Both players and students spent time with the residents at the nursing home, having conversations with them and handing the presents to individuals and helping open them. 

Catherine Berry, home manager at Benton House spoke of how the act of kindness will really help the residents this Christmas: “It really means a lot to everyone here. There’s a number of men here who have played a lot of football in their youth, so it’s been a positive for them and brought them back to life a little bit. There’s a buzz round here now.  

“It’s special to have been chosen by the Sports College and Doncaster Rovers. There’s a lot of places and care homes within Doncaster, so to choose us, is special. 

“It’s good that youngsters are recognising the older population and people that are in care might not actually get much of a Christmas, they might not have anybody. So to get a gift, it’s special to them, however big or small. We can’t thank them enough.”

Close spoke about how rewarding it was, handing out the gifts personally to residents on Tuesday: “It’s a time of year which is really positive and people are supposed to spending time with families and that’s not always the case for everyone.

“We’ve been told some of these won’t be getting a huge amount of family visiting them, so to come and spend some time here, put a smile on their faces with gifts, it’s really rewarding. While we’re here, we get to see the incredible work the staff do aswell.

“You can really see the positive reaction from them, it’s not something that they get every day.”

Close also shed a light on the initiative from the sports college students: “The students have been really thoughtful with this idea. For them to get all the items in themselves, wrap them and then deliver them is really thoughtful.

“We helped the students wrap the presents and thought it would be a great idea for myself and Jack to go along with them to see the gifts being handed out and the positive reaction from those in the nursing home. It was a special afternoon.”

Leader of the student council and Sports Lecturer for the sports college, Kyle Croft said: “The students expressed they wanted to help others this Christmas, so we decided upon Dunelm delivering joy appeal and Benton House nursing home to ensure their residents received a gift. 

“It’s been fantastic to see the students response, donating so many items. The learners have really gained a lot from helping others over the festive period and we as staff couldn’t be prouder.” 

Student council club together to provide gifts to care home in Doncaster, with help from special guests