Community support

Funding level: Up to £1,000

Description

Background

Community Christmas believes that no older person in the UK should be alone on Christmas Day unless they want to be. For the vast majority of the UK, Christmas is a time to get together with family and friends. And yet, with all but essential services shut down for Christmas, an estimated 500,000 older people face the stark reality of being alone on Christmas Day.
Christmas can be a catalyst for change; we enable and encourage people of all ages to make connections within their communities which last beyond the day itself, improving quality of life in the longer term.

One older lady told us “It has given me the confidence to see what else is going on near me.”
A community organiser noted that “One of the off shoots was that the church where we held it have been inspired to do a monthly lunch club.”

Loneliness in the UK

Loneliness is the social and healthcare challenge of the 21st Century. It is one of the biggest killers of older people, and is more harmful to your health than smoking fifteen cigarettes a day. The cost of loneliness is estimated at £12,000 per person per year. And yet, forming one meaningful social relationship can add a whole seven years to someone’s life.

Our approach

We act as a one stop shop for people looking for an event and for those running, or thinking about running, a Christmas event. In just five years, Community Christmas has grown from the gem of an idea, to helping an estimated 15,500 people to access over 600 events across the UK in 2016.

For those thinking of setting up a Christmas day activity we offer Guidance Notes and email/telephone support so they don’t have to start from scratch.

We identify as many events as we can – both existing events and those inspired by Community Christmas – and promote them on our website. We offer a free listing to all Christmas day events and activities whether it’s a church putting on a free Christmas lunch for people in need, a care home opening its doors to the wider public or a community centre where residents are clubbing together to put on afternoon entertainment.

The Community Christmas website provides a searchable map that older people, their families, friends or carers can use to find activities that are going on near them. Each event has details of how to book onto it, whether transport is available and much more besides.

For someone who is unable to search for an event themselves we offer telephone contact and the personal touch. All older people, or those that care for them, who contact Community Christmas looking for help finding an event receive a call-back. We will help them to find a suitable event nearby including further research to find something if necessary.

“One older lady had spent Christmas alone since 1977 – she was so excited thinking about what she would wear.”

Our resources and need

Over the past five years, Community Christmas has been run by a committed group of volunteers and a small paid staff. We are also very grateful to have received in-kind support from a range of suppliers who have provided heavily discounted services such as rent, and IT support. Each year we commit to delivering the best service we can with the funds available. A donation of £1,000 would enable us to provide additional staff time to supplement the volunteers in our contact centre to place an additional 100 older people, allowing for time to track down new events and discuss some of their long term needs where needed.

Christmas is used as a catalyst for change; enabling and encouraging people of all ages to make connections with others in their communities on Christmas Day, improving quality of life in the longer term - but we need your help to do more.

Community Christmas

Location: Newbury

Community Christmas supports the campaigns of others around the issue of loneliness and isolation in our communities. We are proud that our focus is on helping people to take action to address the issue so that every year we hear tales of the long term impact of the connections created.
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