DOZENS braved the wintery weather to turn out for the first ever Give A Bag Some Life auction, which took place at the Comfort Inn Hotel in March.
The event, organised by Kent Coast Volunteering (KCV), was no ordinary charity auction. On offer was a huge and colourful array of canvas bags, beautifully decorated by members of KCV’s “Thanet Good Neighbours Service” – a volunteer-led befriending service, which prevents the feelings of loneliness experienced by so many of Thanet’s older residents, by visiting individuals in their own homes, helping with shopping, decluttering, and even dog-walking.
Service Coordinator Rebecca Bullivant said:
“We are so delighted at how much pleasure the Give A Bag Some Life project has brought to all involved.
“When we started handing out blank canvas bags to our members to decorate, we thought it would be a fun way for them to embrace their creative sides. We had no idea the project would become so popular, and over the months people of all ages and abilities got creative on behalf of our service. We even received completed bags from New Zealand!”
Good-natured bidding wars broke out throughout the evening, with two bags eventually being sold for £50 each - thanks to the expert performance of Ramsgate Town Promoter Rebekah Smith, who was the auctioneer.
Ms Smith said:
“When I heard about Give A Bag Some Life, I fell in love with it, and jumped at the chance of getting involved.
“It’s possible that one day, we may all need something like the Good Neighbours Service to support us in our times of difficulty, and this project is a wonderful thing.”
One of the service’s volunteers, Jackie Collins, went beyond the call of duty by designing not one but 11 bags, all of which contributed to the exceptional quality of all of the bags involved.
Ms Collins said:
“I took part in decorating the bags because as a volunteer with the Good Neighbours Service, I can see how important the service is. People are living longer, and I feel our befriending service allows people to keep their dignity, but we are there if anything starts to go wrong or they don’t seem to be coping.”
As well as raising much-needed funds, organisers hope the initiative will also encourage new volunteers to get involved.
“Give A Bag Some Life helped bring our members together in a really fun way. It made everyone feel good and fostered a sense of community spirit”, said Rebecca Bullivant.
“We are always looking for people who are interested in giving a small amount of time towards being a ‘good neighbour’ to some of Thanet’s most isolated older residents, and we hope this project acts as an incentive to join us”.
The team at Kent Coast Volunteering have not ruled out a sequel to the project:
“It has been such a hit that we will definitely be looking to keep Give A Bag Some Life going for as long it is successful”.
You can find out more about the Thanet Good Neighbours Service by calling 01843 609335, emailing email@example.com
, or visiting www.kcv.org.uk
For more information about Kent Coast Volunteering and the Thanet Good Neighbours Service, please contact Chris Scutt on 07821 137324 or email firstname.lastname@example.org