No one should have no one – tackling loneliness at Christmas

Year upon year, more and more people are spending Christmas alone, and not out of choice. Social isolation affects millions of people throughout the country and research suggests that this year alone over one million people will be by themselves on Christmas day.

For many, it will be ‘just another day.’

When we think of Christmas, we usually think of the things we do and enjoy over the festive break; friends, family, celebrations, togetherness, and no work to go to (for the lucky ones).  However, for those who are isolated or people who live alone, it can be an extremely difficult time.

Some facts on loneliness

Lonely and isolated people have a significantly increased risk of mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety. They are more prone to chronic illnesses like Cardiovascular Disease, and people who are isolated or lonely for a substantial amount of time are 46% more likely to develop Dementia in later life.

In the Potteries, it’s estimated that over 35,000 people aged 16 and over live alone, and according to research, thousands of people in the city haven’t even had a conversation with a friend or family member for over a month.

How many of these people will be alone on Christmas Day?

The answer is: too many! No-one should have to spend Christmas by themselves.

What can we do to tackle loneliness this Christmas?

Spare chair: Do you have a spare chair at your table? Invite someone who you know will be on their own for Christmas dinner, maybe a family member, friend or neighbour. You don’t know what difference you could make to their Christmas.

Neighbourly brew: Think about your neighbours who might not have anyone at Christmas. Whether it’s Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day, ten minutes for a cup of tea and a natter might be just what they need!

Over the web: If you know someone who will be spending Christmas alone, but can’t invite them over, see if you can video call them to share a part of your day with each other.

Deliver Christmas cheer: Don’t just pop a card through the letterbox and swiftly move on. Give them a knock and have a chat. You could be the first person they have seen in days.

Take time to talk: Take just five minutes or so to make a phone-call. Sometimes, just one short conversation can make all the difference to someone who is on their own.

Even if you’re not particularly sociable, you’re nervous, or pressed for time, just 5 minutes could make such a huge difference to someone who lives alone. Something as simple as a wave or “hello” could be the only social interaction that person has had for a day, or even a week.

What are we doing?

The services we’re delivering in North Staffordshire are Vintage Volunteers – a volunteer matching service for over VCSE groups and volunteers aged 65 and over – and Door 2 Door Community Transport.

Our community transport service helps vulnerable residents to get out and about in Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme. Whether that’s health-related appointments, hairdressing, shopping or social events and clubs, Door 2 Door can help.

The service currently has 15 volunteer drivers and cover around 1200 miles a month helping vulnerable people and reducing isolation and loneliness.

Join the fight against loneliness and social isolation with Door 2 Door. Volunteering opportunities are always available! or play Potto Lotto for the chance to win £25,000 whilst also helping to raise funds for the service.

If you want to help our vulnerable residents, get in touch to volunteer. Just an hour a week can make all the difference!

“I would highly recommend the scheme. It makes a tremendous difference as I don’t feel so lonely or isolated.”

“I wish to say how much I appreciate the service; everyone is so kind and helpful.”