A community Christmas event in 2019 (Elaine Livingstone/PA)
A charity is creating an online directory of community events taking place over Christmas for older people who do not want to spend the festive period alone.
Re-engage, which works to end loneliness in older people, is inviting charities, businesses and local community groups to get in touch with details about events taking place between December 18 and January 1.
These could be activities such as community lunches and carol singing, which are accessible to people aged 75 and over who may otherwise spend Christmas by themselves.
Re-engage chief executive Meryl Davies said: “Whilst many of us are looking forward to sitting down with friends and family to enjoy a Christmas meal this year, this won’t be the case for thousands of older people.
We hope our directory will inspire people to bring their communities together and support those who may be experiencing loneliness
Meryl Davies, Re-engage
“Instead of feelings of excitement and anticipation, many older people living alone dread this time of year as it reminds them of years gone by and lost loved ones.
“But this doesn’t have to be the case and we hope our directory will inspire people to bring their communities together and support those who may be experiencing loneliness.”
For the fifth year, Mick Dore, landlord of The Alexandra pub in Wimbledon south-west London is offering a free meal on Christmas Day to local older people who are by themselves.
He came up with the idea after an older man came in for a beer on Christmas Day and he realised he did not have anyone else to share the day with.
In 2019, 149 local older people came along and the pub has set aside two rooms for this Christmas.
He said: “I know for many people December 25 is the worst day of the year, and I didn’t like the idea of them having to spend it by themselves when they could come here instead.
“So we offer free Christmas meals to any older person in the area who has no-one to spend the day with.”
To register a Christmas event, or to find a local event for an older person, visit reengage.org.uk/christmas.