A CHARITY dedicated to ending loneliness in older people has launched a free online directory that lists festive events across the UK for older people to get involved with.
Re-engage has set up Community Christmas as part of its Give the Gift of Friendship 2021 Christmas campaign.
The charity is inviting community groups, charities, businesses and individuals to register any event that falls between December 18 and January 1, and is accessible to people aged 75 and over, who may otherwise spend Christmas alone.
Events in previous years have varied from community lunches, formal sit-down dinners in care homes and restaurants, to mince pies and carol singing.
Re-engage will work with its volunteers and community partners to help ensure older people have access to the bespoke directory and can find out about events in their neighbourhoods.
Meryl Davies, Chief Executive of Re-engage, said: “While 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.
“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.”
Half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone and Christmas is a particularly difficult time.
Stephen, who lives alone in Royton, said: “You know other people are out enjoying time with friends and family and you don’t even have anyone to wish you a Merry Christmas.
“It just makes your sense of loneliness even harder to bear and makes you miss those you’ve lost that much more.”
To register your Christmas event, or to find a local event for an older person, visit reengage.org.uk/christmas or call 0800 716543.