Wednesday 9 December 2015

Contact The Elderly This Christmas

I’ve written before about how there are expected to be around half a million people alone on Christmas. Some of them want to be alone, but for those who don’t, Christmas can be a difficult day. I think it’s really sad that people can feel so alone in a community surrounded by other people. As you get older, and friends and loved ones pass away, it must be really hard to be the one left behind.

At a time when we are reminded about the importance and friendship, it must be just that little bit harder to be alone. Lots of people these days don’t really know their neighbours and perhaps rarely see the other inhabitants of their street. Luckily, however, some much-needed community spirit still exists and there are charities and volunteers organising events across the country for elderly people to celebrate Christmas together.

Contact The Elderly are one of those charities and they’ll be hosting festive tea parties for elderly people up and down the country. In the 1960s, a man named Trevor met an elderly lady who lived near him. She was completely alone and isolated. After speaking to the Welfare Department, Trevor realised that this was not an isolated case. Together with some friends, Trevor got in touch with some other people in a similar situation and invited them to a social gathering. It soon became a monthly thing and more were set up across the country. That Christmas, Trevor received a card from one of the tea party guests simply saying, “Now I have something to live for!”

Greetings card company Inkly are raising funds for contacting the elderly. 10% of the profits from Christmas card sales will be donated to the charity. Inkly allows people to send handwritten cards to loved ones online. Instead of sending a typed out message, you can use the Inkly app to handwrite a personalised message for inside the card. It combines the convenience of sending cards online with the personal touch of your own handwriting. It’s always nicer to receive a handwritten card, isn’t it?

It’s easy to underestimate just how awful loneliness can be. For those with few living friends or family members or those who struggle to get out and about alone, life can be pretty lonely. Organisations like Contact The Elderly are providing a vital service to improve life in the community. The tea parties are free to attend and numbers are kept to a minimum to encourage attendees to form strong bonds with one another. It costs the charity just £8 per person for a Christmas get together, and this includes the price of crackers and sherry.

Inkly have very kindly offered to donate £88 to Contact The Elderly this Christmas as a thanks you for this blog post. That money will cover the cost of 11 people coming together to celebrate Christmas this year. Money well spent.

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