We were proud to support an event run by local charity b:Friend, which ensured twenty elderly and vulnerable people from across Doncaster had company on Christmas Day.
At the Christmas event at Sandalwood Communal Hall in Wheatley Hills, ten volunteers rolled up their sleeves to pull crackers, serve a fantastic lunch and shared stories with the guests who came along. A minibus provided a door-to-door service for many guests, while elsewhere volunteers helped pick-up neighbours living near them. The atmosphere on the day was wonderful, with a lot of joy in the room and appreciation for sharing a special day with new friends.
The charity is now looking to build on that success by engaging and supporting even more people in 2018 – and is encouraging people to put themselves forward as volunteer befrienders.
Mike Niles, b:Friend Founder, said:
“This fantastic event would not have been possible without the incredible support of St Leger Homes. Not only did they provide a wonderful venue for us to host in but they purchased the entire meal (with all the trimmings) to make this Christmas Day one that these older neighbours will not forget. They have shown their commitment to supporting the most vulnerable in our community and we hope to continue collaborating together going forward.”
Paul Tanney, Chief Executive of St Leger Homes, said:
“No-one should be alone at Christmas and we are proud to have been a part of this event ensuring elderly and vulnerable residents in Doncaster had somewhere to go and someone to talk to. We want to build on that success though and would encourage people to consider volunteering throughout the year, to make a real difference for people facing loneliness locally.”
There are over 22,000 elderly people living alone in Doncaster – and many will have little or no contact with friends and family. Could you help?
If you want someone to talk to, or want to register as a befriender, visit https://letsbfriend.org.uk/ and submit your details – the charity will then find someone nearby for you to chat to.
Alternatively, b:Friend run weekly drop in events at Sandalwood Communal Hall, Sandalwood Close in Wheatley Hills every Friday between 10am and 12noon. If you want to make new friends then come along. All welcome.
Here are a few quotes from people who attended the Christmas lunch event:
“It was the best Christmas Day I've had in years.” Julie
“I thought I'd be sat at home on my own but it's nice to share a meal with other people.” Stan
“I can't think of a better way to spend Christmas Day. The joy this has brought to the older people makes it totally worthwhile.” Catherine, a volunteer.
For more information about b:Friend, please visit https://letsbfriend.org.uk/