Operation Sunflower brings hope and joy to Community Services staff

Expect an abundance of tall, bright sunflowers blooming all over Oxfordshire in the summer 2021 thanks to charity funding!

Operation Sunflower brings hope and joy to Community Services staff

All 2,000 members of staff in Oxford Health’s Community Services Directorate will soon receive a gift of some sunflower seeds and a letter of recognition, all delivered to them at home. It is to thank them for their tremendous commitment to patients and each other throughout the hardest of years.

Charles Russell

Volunteer Charles Russell packed over 500 sunflower seed and thank you letter packages with his wife Fran.

The idea for ‘Operation Sunflower’ came from Lucia Winrow, Deputy Director of Neighbourhood Teams, who co-ordinated the initiative, and is made possible with support from Oxford Health Charity, whose volunteers have packed and sent the gifts.



Service Director Emma Leaver said:

“We wanted to find a way of spreading some joy and a signal of hope to our staff who have been nothing short of tremendous throughout this pandemic. It’s been a tough year for sure. However, we have learnt a lot and developed new ways of working that have helped us to cope. Our senior team has been regularly humbled by our staff and their commitment to our patients and to each other.”

Lucia Winrow said:

“We are delighted to be able to be doing this at a time that coincides with the one-year anniversary of the pandemic. We have had amazing support from the Oxford Health Charity throughout this year and it is fabulous that we can connect with staff this way. We are hoping that staff plant their seeds and enjoy them. We are planning to stay connected with this project and run a competition later in the year for the tallest sunflower!”

Lily Sabir and children

Volunteer Lilly Sabir got her children Ibrahim,9,  (from left), Hanaa-Sophiya, 11 and Jeevan-Ali, 10, to help.

Community involvement administrator Maya Jose from Oxford Health Charity said:

“Our volunteers were thrilled to help. We had targeted this project for our volunteers who were shielding and had a total of nine volunteers helping us with the packing. One of the volunteers, Charles Russel, had been shielding since last March. With his wife Fran, Charles packaged 525 seed packs. And one of our newly recruited volunteers, Lilly Sabir, got her children to join so that that they would get a better perspective of volunteering starting from a young age.”


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Published: 18 March 2021