Feature: Another year of kind acts for Warwick-based charity Evelyn’s Gift

Evelyn Smith NNL-150107-122046001
Evelyn Smith NNL-150107-122046001

A Warwick-based charity set up in memory of a seven-year-old girl has continued to create a legacy - and is looking forward to another year of inspiring small acts of kindness.

Evelyn’s Gift was created in memory of seven-year-old Evelyn Smith, who died in 2013 after having a viral and bacterial infection of her upper respiratory tract, which doctors had missed opportunities to diagnose and treat properly.

Evelyn Smith

Evelyn Smith

The charity’s aims are two fold - to train as many people as possible in CPR and lifesaving and to also provide little acts of kindness to people in need.

Last year has been a big year for Evelyn’s Gift and at start of 2016 they officially became a registered charity.

Helen Smith, Evelyn’s mother, said: “We have been carrying out many little acts of kindness and arranging CPR training. We teamed up with Warwick District Community First Responders and Waterside Medical Centre to set up the Warwickshire Hearts project to train members of the public in CPR and use of defribrillators.

“Working together has been a tremendous success with well over 1,800 people trained in our area, including 200 in a day when we supported the national Restart a Heart Day.”

The charity also received a range of donations in 2016, including donations from Mandy Littlejohn, Warwick mayor 2015-2016, who chose Evelyn’s Gift as one of her chosen charities.

Thanks to the donation, the charity were able to decorate a visitors’ room at St Michael’s Hospital.

The charity was also able to plant the hospital ward’s garden because of a donation from Warwick Wishes.

Talking about donations Mrs Smith said: “A local charity, Guy’s Gift, helped us develop a pack of bereavement resources for primary schools in the area.

“The packs, which have been funded by Warwick Court Leet, are available for families to borrow to help them support a child.”

During 2016 Evelyn’s Gift has also joined other charities to help those less fortunate.

Mrs Smith said: “We continued to support the vital work of Leamington Night Shelter and Leamington Winter Support.

“These two charities provide vital care to people in need and it is an inspiration to see their work first hand.

“We have been able to carry out regular deliveries of toiletries, largely thanks to funds raised at the Ostrich Pink fashion show at Warwick Arms Hotel. The hotel also helps by taking in deliveries for us so that we can purchase from In Kind Direct, allowing us to stretch our funds much further.”

Evelyn’s Gift also donated play equipment and toys to Safeline, which were needed for a room focused on therapy for children that have been victims of sex abuse.

The charity also officially launched its new website www.evelynsgift.co.uk in November, which lists all the recent and ongoing projects it has been doing.

Mrs Smith said: “All of our work has been carried out by unpaid volunteers and we have been fortunate to receive donations.

“Evelyn’s Gift has been able to help many more people in need throughout the year in Evelyn’s memory and this would not be possible without the hard work of my friends and the kindness of so many in our community.”

Evelyn’s Gift plans to continue its CPR training and its small acts of kindness throughout next year.

The charity is planning to continue its work on the St Michael’s hospital garden, where they will be helped with a team from Jaguar Landrover. The charity is also keen to keep working with Safeline next year.

Evelyn’s Gift will also continue its work in creating bereavement packages and will be looking to distribute them to other schools in the area after receiving requests from schools and organisations.

In the spring, the charity will receive a donation from the Co-operative thanks to a nomination by John Taylor Funeral Service. It will receive funds raised from the store sales of carrier bags and Co-op products.

Evelyn’s Gift would like to thank their volunteers, Tim Morris from Waterside Medical Centre and Nick Shacklock and the team of Community First Responders. Thanks also goes to Bravissimo, Warwick Rotary Club, Wellesbourne Lions Club, Warwickshire College, Warwickshire County Council and to individual and workplace collections.