02/01/16 / By

Christmas 2015 – the season for giving

Christmas is not only the season to be jolly, but also the season for giving, and staff at The Gro Company have been doing both throughout December.

As part of the company’s Christmas celebrations, along with special events like ‘Mince pie Monday’ and ‘Turkey sandwich Thursday’ certain days were dedicated to staff donating to various charities in order to support the valuable work being done by each charity.

The first charity chosen was SNUG (Supporting Neonatal Users & Graduates) – who are based at the neonatal unit of the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital. SNUG provides emotional support to Devon parents whose babies have been born sick or premature. They work in partnership with parents, medical staff and wider members of the community to reduce anxiety, stress and social isolation and promote community inclusion.

For many parents whose babies are admitted to a neonatal unit, the admission or the transfer from another hospital will have been an emergency, leaving the parents no time to plan for the visit in a practical sense. One of SNUG’s initiatives is to supply parents with a comfort bag containing a soft toy for the baby, tissues, lip balm, soap, flannel, mini shampoo & conditioner, a toothbrush, toothpaste, moisturiser, a snack and a copy of their information booklet ‘Little Book of SNUG’ to let parents know they are not alone.

Leanna Toms from SNUG requested help in the form of donations of lip balm and cereal bars, which staff members were delighted to provide, and the company also donated 100 of the Boo Bear Gro-comforters for the bags.

Sarah and Duane presenting the staff donations to Leanna Toms from SNUG


Another local charity that staff chose to support was the Exeter Foodbank which provides emergency food for local people in crisis. Vouchers are issued by doctors, health visitors, social workers, Citizens Advice Bureau, schools, Exeter City Council and police to people in need, who can then redeem them at the Foodbank and receive 3 days of emergency food.

The Exeter Foodbank asked if Gro Company staff could contribute by providing small gifts wrapped and labelled according to the age range and gender of the intended recipient, as such gifts might be the only ones their service-users will receive at Christmas.

Duane and Sarah delivering staff donations to the Exeter foodbank


A regular feature of many company Christmas celebrations is ‘Christmas Jumper Day’ and Gro HQ was no exception – with staff wearing their bright Christmas sweaters to work, guessing the number of snowflakes on TV presenter Phillip Schofield’s jumper, and donating money in support of 3 charities: Save the Children, Macmillan Cancer Support and Make-A-Wish UK.

Gro Company staff in their Christmas jumpers


Lastly, and not forgetting their furry friends, many staff members donated old blankets, towels, pillows and duvets to Gables Farm near Plymouth, which helps care for over 1000 abandoned or unwanted dogs and cats every year. The charity, which has been going since 1907 either rehomes the animals or re-unites them with their owners, and totally relies on the generosity and support of the public through donations and legacies.

Most people do not particularly associate the Christmas season with going to work, but the charity efforts of The Gro Company staff this December have certainly illustrated the sentiment attributed (possibly erroneously!) to Winston Churchill:

“You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.”


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