Don’t be alone on Christmas Day unless you want to be

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If you are an older person facing Christmas Day alone, national charity Friends of the Elderly could help.

Working in partnership with Community Christmas, the charity is encouraging older people facing the festive season alone to find out what activities are taking place in their local area.

So far four activities in South Yorkshire are registered on the Community Christmas website, and this is being regularly updated. So if you can’t see what you are looking for telephone 0800 063 9285. With activities from full traditional Christmas lunches, to mince pies and a glass of sherry at a local pub, there’s a range of activities that you can be a part of on Christmas Day.

Tony Smith, 61, lives alone and doesn’t have any family. He went to his first community Christmas lunch last year. He said: “The lunch was initially a complete shock to the system – having spent all these years on my own. But it was like one big happy family. I’m really looking forward to going again this Christmas.”

Also looking forward to attending another community Christmas lunch are Lesley, 64, and Jim Roberts, 67, who have been going to one in their local area for the past two years. Lesley said: “It’s a great opportunity to meet new friends. We met one gentleman who we stay in touch with over the telephone. People might be dubious about what to expect, but any worries you have before going just disappear once you get through the door. Everyone’s so welcoming, they couldn’t be friendlier. No one was sat on their own.”

It’s also not too late to organise an activity on Christmas Day for older people who might be alone. It’s not just about the turkey dinner, you could get people together to watch a Christmas film, share a cup of tea and a mince pie in a local pub, or enjoy a Christmas Day walk. If you do organise something make sure it’s registered on the Community Christmas website so that older people can find out about it easily.

Sally McLachlan, Senior Engagement Manager at Friends of the Elderly, said: “Lots of older people tell us they don’t feel worthy of receiving a Christmas meal and there are other people more in need than themselves. This is about the community coming together on Christmas Day, whatever their age or circumstances, to enjoy some festive cheer and make new friends. It’s not only the people attending that have a great day but also those volunteering their time. So if you are alone on Christmas Day and would rather not be, get in touch to find out what’s taking place near you.”

For more information and to find out what is happening in your local area, visit www.fote.org.uk/christmas or call 0800 063 9285.