Changing the world one random act of kindness at a time.

Melissa, Kate, Nicole

Melissa (left) and Nicole (right) drop off mugs with Kate from York Carers Centre

Random Acts staffer Nicole Kirby found a perfectly British way to recognize carers in the United Kingdom. A carer, or caregiver, is someone who supports loved ones through unpaid help with daily activities. This might be as simple as companionship or as intensive as round-the-clock care. Many times, carers do not realize how important their role is. While taking care of a loved one, the carer’s own emotional health can take a back seat.

Nicole, the Regional Representative Manager in the UK, had read an article on the toll that the pandemic has taken on carers. The loss of critical resources such as respite care and medical access has been complicated by the need to keep vulnerable populations safe. The challenges of the pandemic might also have affected carers themselves, such as through job loss or emotional stress.

Wanting to find a way to help, Nicole contacted the York Carers Centre in Yorkshire, England. Sharron Smith, Lead Carer Officer, was able to quickly offer some suggestions from the Centre’s wish list. Nicole found two different acts of kindness that spoke to her heart.

A Cup of Kindness

Nicole’s first act of kindness was to provide the Centre with “Bear Hugs in a Mug” sets. These heartwarming kits include a mug, tea, and biscuits. With a wink at her very appropriate donation, Nicole says, “Well, I am British!”

Bear Hug mugs

Bear Hug mug sets were a welcome gift for carers

Nicole wanted caregivers to know it is all right to take care of themselves, too. “It is a reminder to carers that taking a small moment for themselves when they can is okay,” she says, “and that someone is thinking of them.” She wanted her donation to fit in with the RandomActs #GetKind Wellbeing theme for the month of September 2021.

Nicole coordinated her delivery with another Regional Representative, Belgium’s Melissa Deconynck, who was visiting the UK and performing her own acts of kindness while there. Nicole and Melissa met with Kate from the York Carers Centre, who assured them that the 15 mug sets would be distributed to one of their support groups. “We are really grateful for the opportunity to give carers something nice,” Kate shared in an email. “Things have been very rough for them recently.”

As a little bit of self-care of their own, Nicole and Melissa were happy to catch up and enjoy some leisure time after the delivery. “Working for a virtual team, it is so rare you get to meet someone,” shares Nicole, “let alone do an act of kindness with them!”

Kindness, Take Note

Nicole’s first “pick me up” donation was barely finished before she was formulating her next act of kindness. “The York Carers Centre are doing so much to help unpaid carers through the area,” says Nicole. For her second donation, Nicole wanted to connect with November 2021’s #GetKind Create for Kindness theme.

York Carers Centre had partnered on a project with Create (Arts) Limited, an organization that promotes well-being through the creative arts. The project with the Centre invites carers to participate in creative writing sessions. The carers can journal about their experiences in order to process their challenges, joys, and concerns. In addition, the staff of York Carers Centre will attend some sessions. By taking part in the creative process, the Centre can improve their knowledge of how to support carers.

The York Carers Centre did not have the budget for the creative writing notebooks, which is where Nicole stepped in. Through Random Acts, she was able to purchase 28 notebooks. She supplemented the gift with her own donation of pens.

Strength in the Journey

Notebooks and pens for carers

Notebooks and pens for carers in a creative journaling workshop

As Nicole explains, she hoped her donations would be “a lovely act of kindness for a group of people who have had a particularly rough time during the pandemic.” One of the Bear Hug Mug recipients shared, “What a lovely way to remind us to look after ourselves. I will enjoy a cuppa and a moment of calm.”

Nicole learned from the Centre that some of the carers were attending a workshop on loss and grief. For a carer, loss can take many forms beyond simply the passing of a loved one whom they cared for. A sense of loss may stem from the jobs the individuals gave up to become carers. Loss may come from the “long goodbye” of caring for a loved one with dementia. One notebook recipient had this to say: “This course has been so good for me, and I am enjoying having the special notebooks to use for my writing.”

“It was great to be able to contribute, albeit in a small way,” says Nicole. “It is a small thing, but sometimes these little acts of kindness can really help someone.”

Local Acts Add Up to Global Good

Do you have an idea for an act of kindness in your own community? Random Acts can help with that! Contact your local Random Acts Regional Representative for information on Sponsored Acts or any other help you need to turn your idea into a reality.