Coming Home For Christmas: Operation Jingle Bells

30th November 2020

Found in: Blog  -  

With December arriving tomorrow, Guernsey students studying off-island who haven’t already returned home for the Christmas holidays are getting ready to do so.

Extra flights were put on by Guernsey’s airline Aurigny to try and take some of the pressure off families who have been feeling stressed and worried about making travel arrangements for younger members of the community. These additional flights were part of ‘Operation Jingle Bells’ to get residents home and give them advice on how to return safely while also keeping others safe during COVID-19.

As it stands, Guernsey is in an extremely fortunate position as businesses can open, events can go ahead and people can meet up. Although isolation upon arrival to the island is mandatory, Cardiff University student, Cameron Laine, talks to Locate Guernsey about the things he’s looking forward to the most once he is able to re-join the community after 14 days:

As a student who will soon be returning to Guernsey after another university term has finished, what are some of the things you are looking forward to the most?

Definitely being able to go out and not worry as much about social distancing and wearing a mask. It doesn’t seem like much, but the lack of human interaction feels strange!

If you had to name the top 3 things you have really missed while being away from the island, what would they be?

Obviously my family and friends and being within 20 minutes of everyone I want to see. The outside spaces and beaches – I love Cardiff, but you can’t beat a beach walk.

‘Operation Jingle Bells’ is a Guernsey government initiative focused on helping and supporting local students who are currently studying off-island to return home for the festive period. How important do you think this sort of support is for families?   

 Everyone wants to be with their family at Christmas, and COVID is understandably making that hard. It wouldn’t have been impossible to get to Southampton, but the extra flights not only make it more convenient for many, but also make it safer. Flights from closer airports allow for fewer transfers between public transport, reducing risk of infection. I think all students and our families are grateful for this initiative.

If you were talking to someone who was considering moving to Guernsey, what are some of the plus points you would tell them about?

It’s an ideal place to be in the spring and summer – good weather, and better beaches than anywhere in the UK. A strong sense of community that helps you feel safe – I think Guernsey’s COVID response demonstrates this.

What are your plans once you return to Guernsey and for the festive period? 

Of course, I intend to do my 14-day isolation, as do all my friends. I think it’s important to reassure islanders that we want to keep our families and the wider community safe as much as anyone else. Obviously, we’re young and want to enjoy ourselves, but the only way we can do that is to ensure we avoid new restrictions in the island by following the isolation requirements. I think I’ll get as much of my Uni work done as I can whilst I’m stuck in my room so I’ll be able go out and have a Breda with all my friends afterwards. Then I’ll be spending Christmas with my family.

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