Andover Events Christmas Community Local News

“In a world where you can be anything, be kind” – Ludgershall resident making the magic of Christmas happen

The group ‘Helping Friends and Fur Babies’ was set up just 5 weeks ago by local Ludgershall resident, Daniella Armstrong. The intention was to feed as many vulnerable people and their pets as possible but with the group growing rapidly, Daniella and her team have come together to host a “magical” winter wonderland to the public on the 19th and 20th December.

Daniella told Andover Radio 95.9fm that it all started because “I had a lot of dog food and felt sad that not all dogs were being fed due to peoples jobs being cut.” Daniella explained that she had reached out to people, offering her help and within a day she had fed 12 dogs. This then escalated as people were contacting her to say they hadn’t eaten and the group was then born.

Photo by Daniella

The Helping Friends and Fur Babies Facebook group is completely self funded, by Daniella herself, and the local community who have banded together in a time of need, to collect and deliver parcels to those who are struggling in this pandemic. The group state that they offer a safe space for people who are in need to be able to reach out on their Facebook page by posting on the group or messaging the admin. They have strict confidentiality by not sharing names.

Daniella says, “It took off insanely, we now have over 1k followers. My team are incredible they go above and beyond. We were self funded myself and others would just supply food and get it out. We now have a new admin Abe, who also is so passionate about what we do he has helped so so much and been amazing.” 

The group provide essential items including baby food, nappies, baby items, babies/children clothing, hygiene products for both men, woman and children, pet food;- dog, cat, fish and bird. There are also able to source more exotic pet supply’s but ask for a little notice where possible. On top of this they offer cooked meals once a week cooked by a volunteer chef. All donations have come from local businesses such as Kenyons and Brysons Banquets or local people who want to help out there community. Daniella also shared with Love Andover that the CO-OP in Ludgershall now sponsor the group so they now have access to food which she describes as being “a massive help“. The group state “Do not be afraid to reach out it will be the strongest thing you will ever do.”

They are hosting a Winter Wonderland Event on the 19th and 20th December for local families at Daniella’s home address, 10 Drovers View, Ludgershall, Wiltshire, SP11 9TP.

They have received donations totalling hundreds of pounds from a range of individuals and businesses, including Rosebourne Garden Centre, Jo Camille, Groundcraft Ltd, Clarkes Construction and Reddy Rajesh and the Army offering their support by putting setting up all the electrical work. The event has cost over £1,000 with the local community and Daniella investing their own money for the benefit of other families. “In a world where you can be anything, be kind” adds Daniella.

The Helping Friend’s and Fur Babies Winter Wonderland Event is said to “Give local families the opportunity to relish some Christmas cheer, completely free of charge (though donations are warmly welcome).” Any donations received will go back into supporting the group, who may be struggling in these difficult times.

The event will give families the opportunity to tour the magical Winter Wonderland, set up in Daniella’s garden followed by a visit with Santa and his elf. On Saturday 19th the ‘Grinch’ will be joining the team to try and steal Christmas but visitors will have 5 mins with Santa and children will receive a complimentary gift and adults provided with a hot chocolate. There will be an opportunity to take a photo with Santa and his elf along with plenty of opportunities to photograph the magical Winter Wonderland.

A Winter Wonderland raffle will also take place with tickets available until close of house on Sun 20th December. Numbers will be drawn on Mon 21st December and a selection of prizes will be available and chosen at random for the winner(s). Tickets will be charged at £1 each or £3 for 5.

Daniella says that “people need to smile at the moment and we hope that this event will achieve just that, I’m so excited to be able to do this, and we hope that this will be a long term project so we are able to provide this free fun for families year after year”

They realised the tickets for this event on Thursday evening, ( 26th November 2020) and were amazed that within 4 hours,180 tickets were booked. They have also arranged for Santa to give a video call to those families who are self isolating however to book this, Abe and Daniella have asked that you send them a message on the Facebook page. To find out more or to message the team click HERE

Winter Wonderland is taking place over two consecutive days, Sat 19th December 2020 and Sun 20th December 2020.

Operating Hours
Sat 19 Dec 20 | 14:00 (2pm) – 21:00 (9pm)
Sun 18 Dec 20 | 12:00 (12pm) – 19:00 (7pm)Limited virtual Santa slots will be available on Tue 21st Dec 20

Slots can be booked via the Winter Wonderland booking portal HERE

IMPORTANT COVID-19 precautions.
– 4 people maximum (incl adults) can visit Santa in one slot. Larger groups will need to split and book additional slots.
– Face coverings must be worn by all those over the age of 11. Entry will be denied to anyone (above 11) not wearing a face covering. Those with an approved medical exemption will not be required to wear a face covering.
– Hand sanitiser must be used prior to entering the Winter Wonderland.
– You must not visit Winter Wonderland if on the day of your booking, you or anyone in your party is experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or if you or anyone in your party has experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to your visit.
– Additionally, you must not visit Winter Wonderland if you or anyone in your party has tested positive for COVID-19 or has been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to your visit.
– 2M Social Distancing must be maintained when queuing to enter Winter Wonderland.
– You must not visit Winter Wonderland if you or anyone in your party resides in a Tier 3 area.
– Please arrive 10-15 minutes before your booking. You will not be allowed to enter the queue any earlier than 15 minutes before your booking.