Urgent call for volunteers to give their time on Christmas Day to help elderly people

Help needed at Christmas
Help needed at Christmas

A charity is asking East Sussex residents to help older people suffering from loneliness this Christmas.

Friends of the Elderly have become partners with Community Christmas, an organisation which plans Christmas Day activities for older people in their communities across the UK.

Community Christmas founder, Caroline Billington, 54, explained the events are designed to have a long-term impact on older people, helping them make new friends and enjoy each other’s company.

She said: “That is just lovely, that is what it’s all about.”

Friends of the Elderly is encouraging people to set up and register an event on the Community Christmas website, so that elderly people can easily find and attend it.

Ms Billington said activities can vary from showing a Christmas film to sharing a cup of tea and a mince pie- as long as it brings the community together.

With 36% of older people affected by loneliness in East Sussex alone, Ms Billington said the organisation had to be set up because of the worrying number of elderly people who feel isolated in the winter holidays .

The 54-year-old, who juggles her full-time job with her volunteering, explained: “We are not even one per cent of the way there, we still have a long way to go.”

Ms Billington’s organisation, which was set up in 2011, has recently received a Lottery grant after it boosted in popularity over the past four years.

After 242 Community Christmas events took place last year with a total of 5,000 elderly people, Friends of the Elderly want to promote this opportunity even further.

Chief Executive at Friends of the Elderly, Steve Allen, said: “Friends of the Elderly is delighted to be working with Community Christmas this year to support older people facing Christmas alone.

“We know that loneliness can have a devastating impact on older people’s lives and those we work with tell us that becoming isolated from a community they were once part of can be especially difficult.”

To organise an activity on Christmas Day contact www.communitychristmas.org.uk or call 0844 443 0662 for information.

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