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Psychology students learn about happiness by giving to the homeless

Generous students at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) are making Christmas happier for homeless people, donating clothes, gifts and food for the festive period.

A group of students on DMU’s Psychology course put the wellbeing theory they have been studying into practice, discovering that giving really does make people happier.


Having agreed to help a charity this Christmas, the students donated clothes, chocolate, food and other gifts to Action Homeless, a local charity which offers support to people and families affected by homelessness.

Having filled dozens of bags with gifts, the students helped load them all into a van to be taken to Action Homeless’s Leicester base and from there, be distributed to those in need.

Liz Stokes, second year Psychology student, helped organise the donation.

She said: “We knew we wanted to do something in the community this Christmas and thought working to help the homeless was a good idea.

“I was really surprised and impressed by the number of people who donated; I want to thank everyone who donated and also the Hawthorn Help Zone staff, in the Hawthorn Building, for helping us store all the donations.”

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As part of the Psychology course, students learn about the importance of mental wellbeing and how giving can make the giver and recipient happier.  The Government Office for Science published a report on wellbeing in which it set out five simple, free actions which can improve mental wellbeing. Giving was one of these, along with connecting, staying active, learning and taking notice.

Ross Dowd, a first year Psychology student, had donated some food for the collection.

The 18-year-old said: “When you give, people know that there are others out there thinking about them and this alone can improve someone’s wellbeing.

“There are quite a lot for homeless people in Leicester and it’s something I want to help. Christmas is especially hard if you don’t have a family or a home and anything we can do to show that there is support and care is worth it.”

James Riviere, community engagement assistant with Action Homeless, said the amount of donations DMU students had given was "incredible".

He said: "These will distributed right away, making an immediate impact this Christmas. It will put a smile of people's faces; people who might not have families or homes this Christmas."

Posted on Friday 16th December 2016

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