Aylesbury teaching assistant helps over 1,000 vulnerable people with her positivity boxes
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A young teaching assistant in Aylesbury has been spending her free time creating care packages to help vulnerable people.
Starting in lockdown last year, Alice Rose, who works at Pebble Brook School, has been crafting her own carefully thought-out positivity boxes.
The 18-year-old who grew up and still lives in Waddesdon, researched items which would benefit people feeling lonely and isolated during the pandemic.
With a focus on people who may be struggling with their mental health at a uniquely testing time, she packed her boxes with jewellery, hygiene products and stress-relieving goodies.
Since starting from scratch on her own the teenager has created 1,084 boxes, almost single-handedly.
Her mum has put together a few of the boxes, but Alice has largely operated as a one-woman band so far.
Alice told the Bucks Herald: "I just wanted to help people who might be feeling alone and like they had nobody, especially with the pandemic.
"To start with it was mainly elderly people or people who had mental health issues, but now it's gone onto anyone who needs a positivity boost.
"I did quite a bit of research into different mental health conditions and what could help people. Say, someone's got anxiety, what could help them.
"What could help someone who's got ADHD or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). I had a look at Amazon to see if I could get any bits from there, and then if I could get them from anywhere else, as Amazon is not always the cheapest."
As well as sweets, tea or coffee and for now Christmas cards, Alice's boxes can include if required self-harm kits and practical items like tampons.
Her Amazon wish list which can be accessed here, is full of simple treats designed to improve the moods of those in need of a bit of joy, care and attention.
It includes: Christmas card packs, boxes of chocolate, sunflower seed selections and much more.
As Alice's project has gained popularity, she has began working with charities and local businesses, to both identify who to support and to help make the packages more affordable.
She now volunteers and collaborates with Aylesbury-based charity, Inspire Bucks, which supports children and families from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The charity helps identify youngsters and families who might benefit from one of Alice's positivity packages.
Working alongside a not-for-profit organisation also fits with Alice's long-term goal of developing the positivity box project, into a charity on its own.
Alice conceded this is a long way off, due to government requirements around the level of donations expected to be given each year to registered charities in the UK.
Buoyed by her success so far, while Alice will continue to ship packages across all corners of the UK, she has a special Bucks-based campaign coming up.
For Christmas she hopes to continue the work she's done sending gifts to care homes and the homeless in Aylesbury by making a big donation to Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
She is preparing boxes in the hope, she will have enough material to hand out 100 separate packages to inpatients at the hospital on Christmas Day.
Having left her school in Aylesbury early on in her first year of sixth form to enter the workplace, Alice didn't find the decision to give up her hard-earned money to others a difficult one.
She said: "I was working during lockdown and I didn't have anything else to spend my money on. And I've always been a person who spends a lot of their money on other people."
Such is the growing popularity of Alice's boxes, that she received one direct message on Instagram from a fan wanting to receive a positivity box in Australia.
The person was not deterred by potential travel costs incurred getting the package to the land down under and now holds the record for the furthest delivered positivity box.
To receive a care package, people in need of a boost can fill out the following Google form which can be accessed online here.
Alice's progress can be tracked on her website here and she has set up a fundraising page, to help with costs for her Christmas project which can be accessed here.