Groups in the Western Isles are being encouraged to reach out to those in their communities who may need an extra smile this Christmas.

Volunteer Centre Western Isles has produced a step-by-step guide for community groups, third sector organisations and churches to run their own ‘Give a Gift, Light up a Life’ project, and spread a little kindness this Christmas.

This follows an a highly successful ‘Give a Gift, Light up a Life’ campaign the Volunteer Centre ran last year in partnership with NHS Western Isles Community Navigators which saw older, socially isolated people receiving a handwritten Christmas card and small gift.

It is hoped that this can be expanded, and that lots of groups and organisations across the Western Isles can get involved planning their own small acts of kindness projects this Christmas to help improve links between people within communities.

Suzanne Macaulay, Manager at Volunteer Centre Western Isles, said:“This year, the amazing COVID response across the Western Isles has shown the huge difference that volunteering and carrying out small acts of kindness in our communities can make.  We know a lot of people are feeling isolated at the moment, so we would like to help local groups to reach out to people in our community to provide a hand written Christmas card and a small gift to those who may need an extra smile this Christmas.”

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan said: "Christmas can be a hard time of year for a lot of people, and the extra strain that people have had to bear because of the coronavirus pandemic will likely exacerbate this.

“Whether it’s a gift or handwritten card, small acts of kindness like this can have an enormously positive emotional impact on their recipients who may be feeling low or isolated.

“This is a really excellent initiative from Volunteer Centre Western Isles which I hope lots of organisations in the Western Isles feel they can get involved with.”

If you are not part of a community group, but would like to donate a gift or card through the NHS Community Navigators, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., phone 01851 700366 or check www.volunteercentrewi.org for more information.