School thanked for generous donations

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Students at Ripley Academy spread festive cheer in the run up to Christmas by handing over special boxes to a charity that supports homeless people.

A total of 30 boxes were donated to Derventio Housing Trust and given as Christmas gifts to Derventio residents who live in Amber Valley and Erewash.

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

Jackie Carpenter, from Derventio, talked to students about work done by the charity to support homeless people across Derbyshire.

She said: “It’s about so much more than providing a roof over people’s heads.

“It’s about having that person at your side who will hold your hand while you are going through difficult times and sometimes it’s about giving the people we work with a reality check and our staff do all of that.

“We help people learn how to cook, budget and teach them how to clean too. It’s about confidence and building on their own strengths.”

Jackie told students that Derventio leased houses and flats across the county which were then rented to homeless people.

She said: “It can be very difficult for a homeless person to rent in the private sector so that’s where we come in.

“We rent houses and flats and furnish them and rent them to homeless people. We have about 400 in total.”

Steve Richardson, director of learning for Years 12 and 13 at The Ripley Academy, said the response to the collection for Derventio had been fantastic.

He said: “I think the interesting thing is that homelessness can affect anyone and it’s important that everyone, including our students, realises that.

“We’ve been collecting for Derventio since 2007 and we are always overwhelmed by the response of our staff and students; it really is a whole school effort.

“Our students did a great job of decorating the boxes too and we hope they brought a bit of Christmas joy to the people being supported by Derventio Housing.”

Jackie said she was extremely grateful to The Ripley Academy for the Christmas boxes.

She said: “We want to thank the staff and students at The Ripley Academy for their wonderful donations, their support is amazing.”

Derventio Housing Trust, based in Derby, works in local communities to provide quality housing and related services to alleviate housing problems and end homelessness.