Pam Ward, assistant manager at the Pudsey Live at Home Scheme, writes about how she became involved in projects that tackle loneliness over Christmas.
After ten years of trying for a baby, we were blessed with a son. He was (as all children are) spoilt.
One Christmas, when James was 4 years old, I saw an advert by Pudsey Rotary Club asking for volunteers to deliver Christmas dinners to people on their own in the Pudsey area.
So James and I started that Christmas delivering dinners to local people who would be on their own over the festive season. This I felt taught James that Christmas is not about receiving lots of gifts, but about giving your time, a smile and a ear to someone who may not see anyone for days. Its 19 years this year and I am pleased to say James still wants to come along with me.
It’s wonderful to meet people on Christmas Day, to deliver a two course lunch, with a gift and a card all free of charge from Pudsey Rotary Club. We try to spend a little time with them, if they want (as not all wants to chat – some preferring to get on with their lunch!) I hope that this will long continue, and we can support them.
Pudsey Live at Home Scheme promotes the free Christmas lunches. We also send every member a Christmas newsletter with card, and telephone people who we know are lonely over the Christmas weeks. We have a Christmas party with entertainment (with party food, hats and crackers).
We are this year also running four escorted Christmas shopping trips, and we are available to do emergency shopping for anyone who can’t get out.
We are always looking for new volunteers to befriend, drive and/or escort on our minibus, pick people up and bring them to groups in their own cars, helping with the luncheon club, and help within the groups.
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For more information on the Pudsey Live at Home scheme, you can visit their website or call 0113 256 2717.
To find volunteering opportunities for ending loneliness in older age this Christmas, visit our Christmas 2011 page or contact your local Rotary Club.
If you are based in London, the Rotary Club of Battersea Park is still looking for support .