OLDER people in Thurrock enjoyed a hearty Christmas meal on10th Dec thanks to Thurrock Over Fifties Forum . Age UK. and with funding from the Royal Mail Group, over 180 local older people’s groups across the country have provided festive dinners for thousands of people in later life.
The meals were provided as part of national charity Age UK’s annual ‘Spread the Warmth’ campaign, which aims to help people in later life during the difficult winter months. Royal Mail Group’s donation of £25,000 has provided many meals for those who may otherwise go without cheer and company throughout the festive season.
For many, winter can be a difficult time of year with increased loneliness and isolation — over 500,000 older people spent Christmas Day alone last year. Gerry Calder, Chair of TOFF, said The Christmas meal in Thurrock offered warm and nutritious food and the opportunity for older people to come together over the festive season to catch up with friends and meet new people.
The survey that we took on the day, shows that most older people look forward to spending Christmas with family and friends, some are not able to do this, so a day such as this is most welcome and helps to fight increasing loneliness and isolation that affects our older population”
Paul Farthing, Fundraising Director at Age UK, said:
“We all love getting together with friends and family over the festive period, but Christmas can be particularly daunting for some older people who may feel isolated and lonely at this time of year. Age UK is really grateful for the donation from Royal Mail Group which has helped to make winter warmer by supporting local older people’s groups such as Thurrock Over Fifties Forum to put on Christmas meals, spreading the festive spirit across the community.”
This winter as many as 25,000 older people could die needlessly because of the cold. That’s around 200 preventable deaths a day . During the Spread the Warmth campaign, Age UK and its local and national partners are working to keep older people warm and well. The charity is providing social activities and contact for older people, as well as tips on combating the cold at home and outdoors. Age UK will be keeping people warm and safe at home, giving out hot nutritious meals and offering information and advice 365 days a year. The charity is also calling on the Government to boost the energy efficiency of older people’s homes.
Older people and their families can call Age UK Advice for free on 0800 169 65 65, where they can also order a free copy of ‘Winter Wrapped Up’ with a free thermometer. Alternatively they can visit www.spreadthewarmth.org.uk to download the guide, get more information about the Spread the Warmth campaign and find out where their local Age UK office or shop is. There are lots of ways to help Age UK Spread the Warmth this winter. People can make a donation simply by calling 0800 169 87 87 or visiting www.spreadthewarmth.org.uk.