How Berkshire charity 52 Lives is helping vulnerable children and the elderly

PUBLISHED: 00:00 09 June 2020 | UPDATED: 10:00 11 June 2020

Jaime Thurston

Jaime Thurston

Archant

We speak to Jaime Thurston of charity 52 Lives to find out how they’re helping people through the pandemic.

“I think when everything else gets stripped away, we’re left with what really matters… kindness and human connection,” says Jaime Thurston, Founder and CEO of 52 Lives, the charity that uses kindness to change the life of someone every week of the year. “Kindness creates strong communities, and ultimately determines what kind of world we have. And in times like this, it’s lovely to see so much kindness emerging all over the country.”

52 Lives has seen a significant increase in donations following the lockdown, from individual supporters and from their corporate partner, Gala Bingo, who have raised in excess of £400,000 for the worthy cause over their three partnership.

Gala Bingo has been increasing its fundraising for 52 Lives since the start of lockdown including a donation of £52,000 for the 52 games charity event on 30th April, enabling the charity to help more people across the UK, particularly the elderly in care homes and those struggling with self-isolation.

They are sending happy bags, which include games, toys and sensory equipment, to families who may struggle to get everything they need while in isolation. In addition to that they are helping families who have a child with a rare terminal illness to help fund essential items, such as cookers and white goods. They are also helping to send wellbeing packs 
to almost 400 elderly people in Berkshire who are living on their own with no family support network or internet access. The wellbeing packs include essential items, as well as a newsletter to help them stay connected and keep their spirits up.

With the extra funds raised the charity will also be helping to supply emergency food parcels to 100 vulnerable families.

“As a charity, we’ve seen more kindness emerging than we ever have before. People are innately kind, and in times of crisis, we come together and want to help one another. Kindness is the one thing that connects us all,” says Jaime, who lives in Berkshire with her partner, Greig, and her children, Abbey, Max and Joseph.

“We’re doing pretty well so far…it’s been hard at times juggling work and home-schooling, but we’re just trying to keep things in perspective and think about the bigger picture of why we’re all doing this – to keep our vulnerable friends and family safe,” Jaime adds. “We used to always be so busy. I feel like this has simplified life for us quite a lot, and made us focus on what’s really important. We’re safe, we have a home, we have a garden, we have enough food, and the kids have toys to keep them entertained. Some of the families 52 Lives helps are isolating in one room, with no kitchen, a shared bathroom and no outside space.

“I hope the feeling of togetherness carries on after lockdown, and that neighbours don’t stop chatting over their fences, that people keep checking in on the vulnerable and that we all keep being kind to one another.”

52-lives.org; galabingo.com/en/p/promotions/52-lives

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