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Our Christmas Lunch Project

Picture of christmas bauble

Published on 12 January 2023 10:18 AM

Age UK Westminster helps to ease loneliness in older people over the Christmas season

Age UK Westminster’s Christmas Lunch Project is an annual project that exists to make the Christmas season a special and enjoyable time for isolated and vulnerable older people in Westminster. The project has been in operation for over 20 years and involves us working with Parkhouse Christmas Meals and St. Paul's school, local businesses, and a team of volunteers.

Working with volunteers from St. Pauls School, we provided 300 older Westminster residents who spend Christmas day alone with a festive meal, a gift and a friendly visitor, on what would otherwise be the loneliest day of the year. We are the only organisation in Westminster that delivers to older people at home on Christmas Day.

Alongside providing meals we worked with individuals and businesses across the borough to provide special Christmas hampers to those who are most vulnerable, delivered by volunteers. The hampers contained a variety of food products and gifts and were given to 380 Westminster residents aged 60+.

Throughout December, we hosted a series of free festive lunches and events in different locations with attendees totalling over 400.

Loneliness can be particularly acute during the festive season, and events such as bereavement, serious illness or a reduction in mobility, can all mean that many older people will spend Christmas alone.

The support of a trust partner, Paddington Charities, and businesses in Westminster helped make everything possible with many providing resources, venues, hamper contents and volunteers. These included Bendicks, Britvic, Halcyon Days, Howard de Walden Estate, GIC Singapore, Richardson Publications, Southbank International School, Quod, Visa, Santander, Never for Ever, Bain & Co, The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Walkers and Wilkin & Sons Ltd.

Attendees thoroughly enjoyed themselves with one attendee saying:

“How wonderful all the people that ran this party were, kindness & beyond, the goody bag was just amazing and really a life saver. Have a lovely weekend.”

And another stating:

“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to join some very special events that I would never have experienced otherwise and meet other people that was very valuable and for helping me to get out of my home which has been a challenge on occasions.”

Mehfuz Ahmed, CEO at Age UK Westminster added: “Here in Westminster, we are proud of the relationship we have with local businesses, and their support is vital in helping us to deliver projects like these. Older people in the borough need our support, now more than ever and we are constantly looking at how we can improve or expand the services we provide.”