Tuesday, February 7

Random Acts of Kindness Day is celebrating people from all over the world in helping others

Random Acts of Kindness Day praises people that make the world better through simple kind gestures, words, and actions.

This could be through helping your neighbor or helping the sick.

Or even just giving a smile.

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The North East does have a big contribution to the worldwide annual day.

Many locals have been going the extra mile to help others with all having the same aim, ‘to be kind to others’.

Gateshead woman Christine Frazer, 39, has contributed to helping the community during the pandemic.

She helped her neighbors and NHS workers during the lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.

Christine Frazer standing and smiling
Christine Frazer has become the heart of the local community in Gateshead for supporting those in need during lockdowns

By picking up and delivering shopping, prescriptions, and hobby supplies, taking calls from those who felt lonely and just needed to chat.

She also did live streams on her Facebook page to reach a wide circle of people, to support even without knowing them.

Christine said: “I had people I didn’t know coming on watching my live Facebook videos, and it was nice to see how my use of social media could bring local people together.

“Mental health cases were going bad, and I could see a lot of support was needed in the community.

“My neighbour, who worked in the hospital, would be coming home after long tiring hours and would be exhausted.

“I was once outside my house, and I saw my neighbor back from work, I said hello from a distance, and he just started crying, he said ‘people are not dying from this virus but from their loneliness’.”

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She added: “I could see the mental exhaustion upon NHS workers, and I really wanted to help the helpers.”

The Mutual Aid organization helped her along the way, she said: “Through Gateshead mutual aid, I got a lot of support in reaching out to people. It’s the people I have had around me that have helped me do what I’m doing.”

“I used what existed in the community, for help and support, I didn’t have to go a long way. I didn’t need money, I just needed support” she said.

Covid Act of Kindness Award winner Christine Frazer, with Mayor of Gateshead, Councilor Dot Burnett (left), and Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health (right).
Covid Act of Kindness Award winner Christine Frazer, with Mayor of Gateshead, Councilor Dot Burnett (left), and Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health (right).

Because of this energy and commitment to supporting others and spreading positivity, which continues to this day, she was chosen as the winner of Gateshead’s Covid Acts of Kindness Award.

Another group of local volunteers are using their time to help refugees and asylum seekers by holding weekly classes.

World Cafe a nonprofit organization in Arthur’s Hill is a place for refugees, asylum seekers, and destitute families to meet and have a cup of tea and cake.

The Cafe is organized by volunteers and supported by the Newcastle Council of Faiths to promote peace and unity in the city.

The vision of the World Cafe started in July 2021.

World Cafe from outside
World Cafe

Graham Wilkins, a volunteer coordinator for World Cafe, said: “Every Monday there are craft classes and on Thursdays English teaching classes.

“We help refugees and asylum seekers with filling in forms and direct them to the right places for further support.

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“At the moment we’re helping a family with two children who are in need of free bus passes to commute to school and back home.”

A refugee who comes to the weekly classes said: “The Craft Group feels a comfortable, a safe place to be present and be yourself without pressure.”

Arts and crafts at World Cafe
Arts and crafts at World Cafe

Another refugee added: “The conversation makes me know your culture, makes me more close to you, no time for talking to anyone so I become more involved in your culture. You are all kind and lovely. It improves my self-confidence. I love it.”

Crafting Connection Facilitator, Grace Gorman, said: “We invite anyone in the community who is interested in coming along and creating whatever they would like in textiles.

“The crafts are just fun and enjoyable to do, there is an aim to bring the community together and get people mixing. It’s a neutral space.”

Woman doing crafts at World Cafe
World Cafe Arts and Crafts session

Rachel Whitehouse, English for All-Volunteer Coordinator, said: “We are a charity and we aim to support asylum seekers and refugees, learn English, and are open to anyone who doesn’t have a place to go for education .

“We’ve been teaching English online since the pandemic and then moved here (the World Cafe) in Autumn and we teach here once a week on a Thursday.

“It’s very nice to be together and be collective; we’re all wanting to make things better for everyone and work together as a community.”

Another volunteer, Mymona Bibi, said: “The main aim is to get to be part of the community and volunteer. And building connections.”

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On Random Acts of Kindness Day, people’s hard work is awarded by applauding their efforts of time to help others.

A young girl from Cramlington has been delivering Valentine’s gifts to the Freeman Hospital. Y

Calli Tully and the Valentine's gifts for Freeman Hospital
Calli Tully from Cramlington

Calli Tully, 24, from Dudley, was hospitalized in December 2014 due to a hole in her heart where she had to have an emergency open-heart surgery.

Since then Calli wanted to thank the ward for all their efforts whilst she was in a critically ill condition.

For the past eight years, she has been delivering gifts during Christmas and recently during Easter.

For Valentine’s gifts, she said: “I have taken twenty personalized bags, with personalized teddy bears, love heart lolly, a balloon on a stick for each child and some big love heart balloons for the wards and PICU and Intensive care unit.

Nurses from Freeman Hospital
Nurses from Freeman Hospital

One of the parents of a young patient on the ward said: “Can’t even begin to tell you what this means to us. Thank you so much. My daughters are just in recovery and it’s totally brightened our day.”

Calli added: “It takes a simple act of kindness to brighten up someone else’s day, always try to be a rainbow in someone else’s clouds, as someday you might need someone to be your rainbow.”

Twenty personalized Valentine's gifts with red hearted balloons
Calli Tully gifting Valentines gifts to Heart unit at Freeman Hospital

Calli said: “I definitely plan to do Valentine’s Day again in the future but my next mission is Easter now!”

If you would like to donate to Calli’s Easter campaign, visit: https://gofund.me/42c8d0a8

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