Don't be alone this Christmas - neighbours, clubs and churches open their doors on December 25
PUBLISHED: 16:41 13 December 2018
The countdown to Christmas is something to dread for some who face the prospect of spending the holiday alone, with no-one to talk to or share their turkey with.
More than 2.5 million older people feel like they have no one to turn to, especially at Christmas and loneliness is a growing problem.
It is not just the elderly, those living alone and the homeless community can also find Christmas tough.
Jo Reeder, head of fundraising and marketing for Age UK Suffolk, said: “The festive period is a particularly challenging time for many older people. While most of us are looking forward to spending time with family and friends, the reality is that for some people, this can be the most isolating and difficult time of year.
“We would encourage everyone to keep in touch with older relatives, friends and neighbours, not just over Christmas, but through the winter months, to ensure that they are safe, warm and have everything they need. Often a simple phone call or visit can be the highlight of someone’s day, week or even month.”
For those who do not have family to spend the day with, there are Christmas lunches taking place at churches, community groups and pubs. Here are some of the places you could turn to.
Bury St Edmunds Quakers - The Quakers invite people to join them for quiet companionship and light refreshments at the Meeting House in St John’s Street from 3pm to 6pm on Christmas Day.
Gatehouse - The Bury St Edmunds-based charity offer a Christmas meal at St Benedict’s School every year, bringing together more than 100 people including the town Mayor. Volunteers willingly give up their day to provide a Christmas dinner for anyone that is vulnerable, lonely or in need.
The Salvation Army, Ipswich - Join members of the Salvation Army community in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich for a traditional Christmas day for all ages. A Christmas worship will be held at 10.30am, with refreshments at 11.30am and a Christmas lunch provided at 12.30pm. In the afternoon there will be Christmas entertainment from 2pm with the day finishing at 3pm.
The event will be held at the community hall and the closing date for bookings is Friday December 14. For more details call 01473 270009 or contact via email.
River of Life Church - The Felixstowe church group are opening their doors from 10.30am on Christmas day so people can celebrate together on this special day. All are welcome and parking is free.
For more information call 01394 273700.
Burlington Baptist Church Those living in Ipswich can enjoy Christmas day lunch at the baptist church. It is open to anyone who would like to be in the company of others this Christmas.
Their doors will be open all day. A party service will also be held to celebrate Christmas together – singing carols, sharing your favourite presents and hearing the Christmas story together in a group.
The Salvation Army, Felixstowe - The group are also hosting a traditional Christmas lunch at the community hall in Cobbold Road.
For more details on other events in the area visit Community Christmas or get in touch with Age UK Suffolk’s information and benefits advice team on 01473 351234.