Ripley Academy students learn about homelessness in Christmas exchange

Students from Ripley Academy with representatives from the Derventio Housing Trust.
Students from Ripley Academy with representatives from the Derventio Housing Trust.

Students at a Ripley school had an eye-opening exchange before Christmas after giving gifts for residents of a Derbyshire housing organisation.

Ripley Academy collected more than 20 festive boxes, created and decorated by students and staff, for residents of the Derventio Housing Trust, which is based in Derby.

Each form group filled a Christmas box with items ranging from clothes and toiletries to food and chocolates.

Academy director Steve Richardson said: “Once again our students and staff have done us proud and created some fantastic Christmas boxes.

“Derventio does great work in our local community and we are happy to be able to support them in that.”

When the time came to collect the boxes, the school received a visit from the trust’s assistant director Jackie Carpenter.

She said: “It’s amazing to see all the wonderful things that everyone at the school has donated to help bring a bit of Christmas spirit to people who’ve fallen on hard times.

“All the boxes are so beautifully decorated too. It really does make all the difference to our residents to know that people do care.”

Derventio is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company providing provide quality housing and related services to alleviate housing problems and end homelessness, particularly for vulnerable people.

Jackie was joined by Derventio residents Katie and Shane, who spent time with students talking about their experiences.

They talked about how people can become homeless and what life is like for someone with no roof over their head.

Katie told them: “My ex-partner was abusive and controlling. When I left him I had nowhere to go and ended up living on a bench for a month. I was on my own and terrified.

“I’ve had a lot of support from Derventio and it’s just amazing. I’ve come a long way in a year – last year I didn’t know if I was coming or going.”

At the end of a moving day, Steve said: “We would like to thank Jackie, Katie and Shane for talking to our students and we hope the Christmas boxes bring a little festive cheer to the Derventio residents.”

For more information about the trust and its work visit www.derventiohousing.com.