STAFF at a care home in Romsey have created a pop-up Christmas shop in one of their lounge areas so residents can choose gifts for their loved ones.

The initiative was the idea of the activities team at Woodley Grange care home, following a comment from a resident expressing her wish to go shopping for presents for her family.

Due to the pandemic and tightening restrictions, residents have been unable to visit local shops this year.

The activities team spoke to businesses in the Romsey community who were happy to band together to help put her plan into action.

Anish Patel, home manager at Woodley Grange said: “Christmas shopping is an activity many of our residents look forward to, so we were determined to find a solution.

“We were amazed and humbled by the support we received from the community and local businesses. Lots of people donated a wide range of gifts which meant we were able to cre-ate our pop-up shop.

“To make it feel like a Christmas shopping experience, we had a till, shopping baskets, and fake money so the residents could ‘buy’ their presents. We also made tea and coffee, be-cause everyone needs a break and a cuppa when they’re shopping.”

An assortment of gifts for men, women, children, and pets were available for the residents to choose from, and staff helped them to wrap and label their presents.

Gifts on offer included perfume, chocolates, knitted hats and scarves, Christmas decorations and squeaky toys for pets.

One resident said: “You know what this makes me feel like? It makes me feel like the Queen.”

Another said: “You’ve done all this – for us? Thank you, it’s wonderful.”

Another added: “Can you come and live with me? I can’t wrap presents like that.”

Anish continued: “Christmas is a special time of year for everyone, so we wanted to make it as special as possible.

“Something as simple as being able to choose presents for family has made a massive dif-ference to our residents happiness and wellbeing. It also helps them to maintain some inde-pendence.

Lily, co-manager at Lemon & Jinja who donated the till, said: “We don’t just care about the planet, we also care deeply about our local community.

“We had supported Woodley Grange last year by lending them our till for the Christmas pe-riod, as we were not taking cash at the time.

“Before we opened our shop, the till was kindly donated to us by Sundae’s Child and so we decided to do the same.

“We love why Woolley Grange are using the till system and we love the idea of spreading joy, particularly at this time of year."