Loneliness during the Christmas period is an issue that was exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, with many people catching the virus and having to isolate on Christmas Day in the last couple of years.
This year, the cost of living crisis may mean that people spend less time with their loved ones, with a third of adults saying they will cut back on social gatherings and a further 21% stating that they will reduce the amount of travelling they do to visit family and friends who live far away, according to a recent YouGov poll.
Loneliness amongst the elderly at Christmas is already a big concern – nearly a million over-65s were expected to be lonely last Christmas – and this will only deepen the worry.
Some people may also be socially isolated and lonely during the rest of the year, and the pressure to spend time with friends and family over the festive period only makes feelings of isolation and loneliness worse. At House of Books and Friends we hope to be a welcoming and friendly place for those feeling socially isolated this Christmas, and every book sold counts in making a tangible difference in our community.
If you or anyone you know are looking for a way to spend your time on Christmas Day while we are closed, we have collected some links that may be able to help.
Community Christmas provides a free online directory of local festive events and activities taking place across the UK, between 17 December 2022 and 1 January 2023, which are open to local older people who would otherwise be spending Christmas alone.
The Christmas Dinner Project
Established by Lemn Sissay ten years ago, this project connects local people able to provide and enjoy a Christmas dinner with care leavers ages 18-25 years old. Based in Manchester originally, there are now options all over the country for those who’d like to get involved.
FoodCycle Salford Cornerstone Community Meal
A vegetarian Christmas dinner, free of charge, taking place on the 20th December. FoodCycle also have branches in Levenshulme and Salford Angel Centre, where there is a community meal every week. Please check with them directly for Christmas opening times.
Manchester Community Central Volunteering Opportunities
If you have some spare time to help with your local community this Christmas, here is a variety of volunteering opportunities around Manchester that you can get involved in.
Salford Loaves And Fishes
Salford Loaves and Fishes are open on Christmas Day from 12pm until 2:30pm for anyone who is on their own and would like some company. They also give away a free gift. To sign up, visitors should go to their centre (1 Paddington close, Salford, M6 5PL) Monday-Friday 9am-2pm.
Volunteers can sign up to help from 11am-3pm on Christmas Day for as long as they would like – to do this, email email@example.com.