Is this the kindest family in Cumbria?
They’ve shocked and inspired friends and put smiles on people’s faces, they’ve helped those who are cold and hungry, all after a heartbreaking loss.
The Scott family from Carlisle give their time to people in need and have no plans to slow down.
For 10 years, the Scotts have dedicated their free time to others.
Caroline and her daughters Arianna, nine, and Maddison, 13, have donated to food banks, filled people’s freezers and walked round housing estates giving Christmas treats to children.
For the girls this is all they have known: to give their time to others who might need a helping hand.
They’ve given up Christmas gifts, made blankets and spent time in care homes meeting the residents.
As a special treat, the girls were welcomed into the city’s Kinder Shop where they discovered they were able to volunteer at Eden Valley Hospice and offered their time in exchange for fluffy pillows.
The Kinder Shop looked like any other High Street store with a variety of stylish items for sale that ranged from BBQs to garden chairs and hampers.
The only difference was that to pay for items shoppers just needed to show some kindness, by volunteering a suggested number of hours at a charity.
The Cumberland funded the project as part of its campaign to promote kindness with the hope it would help to boost the number of volunteers at charities taking part.
Kelly Ashbridge, partnerships manager at the building society, said it was inspirational to meet customers like the Scott family at the Kinder Shop and hear their story.
“We have met so many kind and generous people through the Kinder Shop project, but you have to take your hat off to Caroline and her family. What they do is amazing and a brilliant example of what difference kindness can make,” she said.
Caroline said: “My dad was in Eden Valley Hospice 10 years ago and as he became frail he asked me to give back to them.
“He was a man that would always help others, he would do odd jobs for people and help where he could. He told me that ‘there will always be someone worse off than you so always help others’.
“At the time I was pregnant with my youngest daughter and when we lost him it would be the first time I wouldn’t be able to buy him something special for his Christmas or birthday gift.
“I decided that with the money I would have spent on him, I would buy food for the food bank.
“That’s where it all started; as a family we would use the money to do nice things for people and the girls grew up knowing how important it is to help others.
“We have done so many different things over the years and the girls really love to help.
“When Covid hit, they understood it and asked me if it meant people would be out of work and if they would need help.
“Arianna asked if she could give up a Christmas gift to buy a voucher to help a family who were struggling.
“When we took the voucher to school the headteacher was in tears, saying what a special thing to do.
“We have been out on Christmas Eve dropping off reindeer treats, sweets and hot chocolate to children on the estates so they have a little magic at Christmas.
“Maddison and Arianna will knock on doors asking how many children live in the houses so they can leave the right amount on the doorsteps.
“I think they’re brilliant. They ask for nothing, they have everything they need but they would rather see people smile.”
When friends realised what the girls were doing they started to give them money to help them out.
Caroline added: “They spend their time thinking about what else they can do for people. I didn’t think what we were doing was special or any different to others but people are shocked at what we do.”
Last year, Caroline popped into town and parked near what she thought was a new shop. When she noticed the Kinder Shop was all about volunteering she thought the girls would love it.
“I brought them down a little later and they were so excited to be able to volunteer with Eden Valley Hospice as that was where their grandad was looked after.
“They signed up and got some big fluffy pillows. They helped run the Christmas card stall in the Lanes and now they keep asking if there is any more they can do for the hospice.”
As Random Acts of Kindness Day on Friday, February 17, approaches the girls have their thinking caps on to come up with plans, as well as planning what they will be doing for people this Christmas.