The focus this month is suggestions for Elderly Shoe Box contents for Link to Hope, and a reminder of the events on at The Farm Animal Sanctuary, Evesham.

Link to Hope

The focus for June on the Link to Hope Family and Elderly calendar is gifts for the Elderly.  If you haven’t come across the calendar before it’s designed to help you spread the cost of filling your shoeboxes over the year by highlighting a specific theme/contents to purchase that month.

Of course you don’t need to stick to their suggested theme, as you might find other bargains to buy in a particular month, but it’s useful to be able to spread the cost so it’s a helpful prompt so you don’t end up trying to buy most of the contents in October 😊.

Gifts for the elderly is the theme for June – and the calendar includes this description – ‘ For older people to use and enjoy – mug, spoon, cutlery, sensory items, reading glasses, head scarves’

In addition to the suggestions on the calendar the shoebox leaflet also includes the suggestions of a hot water bottle, work gloves, wooden spoon, pen and paper, socks/tights, wind up radio/torch, shampoo, scissors/nail clippers, safety razors.  These are in addition to the essential items that need to be in every shoe box.  

Although the leaflet says Elderly (Unisex) you are allowed to put items in that might traditionally have been associated with a specific gender, just ensure that you add a variety of things so the box isn’t just suitable for one gender.  A single male receiving a shoebox might be disappointed if the box contained small ladies pink gloves, a ladies head scarf, a necklace, tights and lipstick, unless it also contained items an elderly man might traditionally like including work socks, large gloves, or work gloves, safety razors, etc. 

You can often find china mugs for £1.00 in major supermarkets or discount stores. Dunelm currently have some small mugs (Lyon) in a variety of colours for £1.00, including seafoam, ochre, teal, grey etc etc .  Asda sell a travel mug for £1.50 – it’s called George Home Travel Mug but they do another one with the same name for £2.50.  The cheaper version is a mixture of black plastic with a stainless steel band.  It’s a good option from the perspective that the handle is long and wide so easier for arthritic hands to hold and being insulated the person can hold the body of the cup as well for extra support, the downside is that removing the lid can be difficult with arthritic hands.  Added benefit it will keep drinks warmer for longer 😊.

Cutlery sets can be found at Dunelm, B&M and Asda for £5.00 for a 16 piece set (ie 4 sets of knife, fork, tea spoon and desert spoon), which works out at £1.25 per place setting.  I’ve previously bought sets from Poundstretcher.  Asda currently have a set of polished metal cutlery for £4.00 so £1.00 per place setting and Ikea sell their Mopsig plain stainless steel set for £4.00 for a 16 piece set.  Wilko sell a 16 piece ‘Functional’ cutlery set for £4.25.


The best deals I’ve found for wooden spoons are from B&M who sell a pack of 8 wooden utensils for £3.00 which works out about 38p per item.  Asda stock what is called a wooden spoon but is actually made of bamboo for 50p or alternatively Ikea sell one wooden spoon for 75p.

Sensory items could include lavender bags, bean bags or stress balls.  Lavender bags are quite easy and cheap to make, especially you have your own lavender plants in your garden to harvest the flowers from.  Even if you can’t sew you can create little pouches by cutting a circle of thin fabric, putting a spoonful of lavender flowers in the centre and gathering up the sides and either wrapping a rubber band around, or tying ribbon or strong wool around to keep the lavender in place.

I couldn’t find any cheap stress balls – the multi buys I looked at on Amazon were too small for adults – though they looked bigger in the pictures, but some were only 2cm in diameter!

Reading glasses can be a really useful gift in an elderly box.  You can still get reading glasses for £1.00 if you shop around.  Poundland still have some, as do Primark, and Savers have some for £1.29.  Remember they shouldn’t be any stronger than +2.  The other option is a magnifying glass – One Below/One Beyond and Tesco have magnifying glasses for £1.00.

Head scarves are something I’ve always struggled to find for a reasonable price.  For some reason they always seem to be quite expensive in my local charity shops. I tried to make some last year with some silky material, but my attempts at a rolled hem weren’t great 😊.

Suggestions for where to get the best deals for some of the items suggested on the leaflet – B&M are advertising that some stores have long thin covered hot water bottles for £3.00 but they are either in a Unicorn design or monkey design so might be more suited for the family boxes.  They have plain uncovered hot water bottles for £3.29 or furry covered 1.7L bottles for £4.00 – availability will vary from store to store.

Asda sell a plain uncovered hot water bottle for £3.50 but it doesn’t state the size but based on some reviews I suspect it may be 1.7L.  If you are including a hot water bottle, remember to check for the daisy symbol on the bottle to show when it was made. The number in the centre of the daisy shows the year it was made and the dots in the petals shows the month/week it was made.  The petals represent the 12 months so if the first 4 petals each have 4 dots in and the fifth petal has 2 dots in – it means it was manufactured in the second week of May in the year printed in the centre of the daisy.  Ideally hot water bottles should only be used for 2 – 3 years.  If your hot water bottle doesn’t have the daisy symbol it might not comply with British Safety regulations.   Smaller hot water bottles may just have dots in the month it was made so if it was made in May it would only have dots in that month and not the 4 petals before that.  

I’ve purchased some small 500ml hot water bottles from a wholesale company which will fit easily into smaller shoebox.  I purchased some other items including ball pumps, screwdrivers and tape measures as there is a processing fee of £10.00 if you are doing an order under £100 as well as the delivery charge.  If there are a group of you doing shoe boxes it may be worth trying wholesale.  The company I used will sell as few as 6 hot water bottles but with the £10.00 processing fee as well as VAT and delivery they cost over £3.00 each – if you buy 12 they come in at about £2.60 each but if you purchase 24 they work out at about £1.85 each.  The wholesale price comes down the more you buy and the £10.00 processing fee obviously gets divided between more items, but you may find there is a point where the delivery costs go up so you need to factor that in.

Adding pens and paper is a useful gift and can be quite cost effective.  Tesco have a set of 10 biros for 50p which includes 4 blue, 4 black and 2 red, and Asda sell 3 standard size reporters pads for £1.00 or you can get one A5 spiral bound notebook for 60p.

Poundstretcher are still advertising some men’s socks reduced to 87p for 3 pairs of trainer socks and £1.00 for 3 pairs of sports socks – however my local Poundstretcher haven’t had any.  They do have thermal socks and works sock at £1.50 for 3 pairs and several sets of suit socks £3.50 for 7 pairs which works out at 50p a pair.  (The ladies socks are more expensive!)

The cheapest wind-up torches I’ve seen are on Ebay and are £3.68 with free Delivery.   Amazon have the same design hand crank torch for £3.79 including postage.  If you are doing several boxes Amazon have a Rolson wind up torch for £3.50 with free delivery if you have Amazon Prime, but there is a minimum order of 4. (Similar to picture below right)    If you are doing more boxes or can buy with a few friends, there are some Evelots hand crank torches available as a pack of 12 for £30.00 plus 5p delivery or you can get 24 Mudder hand crank torches for £36.20 with free delivery for both on Amazon.   Just be very careful of the descriptions for hand crank torches as some particularly on Ebay advertise 3 led hand crank torch, and show a picture of 3 torches but you only get one torch which has 3 led bulbs. 

If you feel like splurging – Amazon have a wind up torch/radio for £11.99, which also has a small solar panel which can be used to charge it up. 

For the last few suggestions my best buy so far for shampoo is a 3 in 1 hair, face, and body wash from Aldi.  It say’s it’s for men, but it has a pleasant scent that would be suitable for men and women, and is only 55p and is just the right size at 300ml.  You can get 3 pairs of nail clippers for £1.00 from Primark – most other stores have either increased the price for 3 or you now only get 2 for £1.00, and finally safety razors, – either packs of 5 Bic safety razors for 55p from B&M or 59p from Home Bargains, or 10 generic safety razors for £1.00 from Poundland, Tesco, Sainsbury, One Below/One Beyond.

The Farm Animal Sanctuary

They held their first Sheepover of the year earlier this month and have another planned for 22 July, then on 19th and 20th August they are holding the Animal Freedom Festival.  I will be there for just one day this year with a craft stall to help them raise funds to buy the site they have been based on for years.  Tickets for either event can be purchased on their website. 

They are also open at weekends for farm visits where you are likely to get more opportunity to see the animals.  Advance booking is essential for the farm visits.

Please consider attending any of these events to help them raise funds to buy the site and of course to help pay for the food, medical costs, maintenance etc to keep the animals happy, healthy, and safe.

Bargain Buys This Month

The only real bargain that I’ve found this month is a pack of 30 scented tea lights from Ikea for £1.00. Ikea also had some Father Christmas furry toys for £1.00, and Sainsburys had some Monster soft toys reduced to £1.25 and £1.50 but I probably have enough soft toys for now so didn’t purchase any. 

Till next month  – please continue to support these charities as much as you can 😊.

One thought on “Elderly Shoe Box contents and events at the Farm Animal Sanctuary

  1. me again

    Worth looking in charity shops for mugs and cutlery. One shop locally has 3 mugs for £1, cutlery tends to be around 10 or 20 pence per item.

    nearly everything I put in my boxes is brand new, but sometimes as-good-as new means the box is packed to the brim! win win as the person gets a great box and the charity here gets some funds too.

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