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Meet the generous team leaving lovingly wrapped gifts under Christmas 'giving tree'

PUBLISHED: 07:45 22 December 2018

Lisa handing over the gifts to Tess Aristodemou, CEO of Aspect Living Foundation Suffolk Meals on Wheels.

Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Lisa handing over the gifts to Tess Aristodemou, CEO of Aspect Living Foundation Suffolk Meals on Wheels. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Archant

Generous workers have left lovingly wrapped presents for those less fortunate than themselves under a their own very own Christmas "giving tree".

Staff at BT’s Adastral Park offices near Ipswich put the tree in place so employees could bring in presents to be given to Meals on Wheels recipients on December 25.

The company decided it wanted to help make a difference to people across the age spectrum after hearing about the work of the Aspect Living Foundation in setting up a new Meals on Wheels service earlier this year.

Tess Aristodemou, the charity’s chief executive, used to work for the Royal Voluntary Service when it provided the Meals on Wheels service to the people of Suffolk.

When the service was due to be scrapped earlier this year, Ms Aristodemou was not prepared to see the “vital lifeline” brushed aside.

Tess from Aspect Living met with BT staff and Lisa Perkins, Director of Adastral Park to collect the gifts. 

Picture: RACHEL EDGETess from Aspect Living met with BT staff and Lisa Perkins, Director of Adastral Park to collect the gifts. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Ms Aristodemou said: “I set up my own charity (the Aspect Living Foundation) and took over the staff and customers that we see regularly across the Suffolk area.

“Over Christmas there is definitely people that are alone and don’t have any family to visit or that visit them - it’s just another day to them.

“BT have been amazing with their giving tree - it’s not just the fact they’ve given gifts for these people, they have lovingly wrapped the presents and the messages on cards and labels make them so much more meaningful.

“For us, we have Christmas with out loved ones and we give presents, but these people may have nobody.

Staff at BT donated gifts in aid of Aspect Living's Meals on Wheels service which were left under the giving tree. 

Picture: RACHEL EDGEStaff at BT donated gifts in aid of Aspect Living's Meals on Wheels service which were left under the giving tree. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

“People don’t understand the isolation and loneliness that can face people in older life.

“I cannot see them brushed aside because of government and council cuts. Many of these people tell our drivers: ‘I don’t know what I would do without you.’

“There’s no way I would let it disappear.”

Director of research realisation at Adastral Park, Lisa Perkins, said: “We usually work with children but this one is a bit special and it is wonderful to be able to make a difference to people across the age spectrum.

Many of the presents included personal messages. 

Picture: RACHEL EDGEMany of the presents included personal messages. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

“We a really delighted to be able to make a small difference to our local community.”

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