The office Christmas party is for many a high point in their calendar; a chance to dress up, let go and stock up on a year’s worth of gossip. For some older people, however, Christmas can be a lonely time, with few or no social occasions to look forward to. That’s why Age Scotland is using its grants fund to enable its member groups across the country to hold Christmas events; this year benefiting some 1,350 older people.
Groups like Age Concern Dundee. One of their Christmas party guests was a woman in her 80s who had recently spent time in hospital recovering from a bad fall, and was coping with a bereavement following the untimely death of her daughter. The staff encouraged her to come to the Christmas Party, and arranged escorted transport. “She had a great time and loved seeing her friends again,” they told us. “She is now attending the centre again for two days a week, using the bus transport we provide.”
Bridge of Weir Elderly Forum persuaded a woman who had lost her husband, and had been finding it difficult to get out and meet with friends, to come to their party. “She enjoyed the day, singing and chatting with old friends and even managed to have a wee dance,” they told us. “The party has been instrumental in getting her to come back and attend the forum again.”
These stories show that not only do such Christmas events offers seasonal cheer and company; they can also connect people who have become socially isolated by a crisis such, as a bereavement, into the year-round social support services offered by many Age Scotland groups. “Today’s trip has made a big difference to me,” said one guest on a Christmas outing by Kirkconnel Parish Heritage Society. “It was the first time in many years that I was able to attend a pantomime; meeting up with local people I do not normally see.”
‘Christmas events’ is just one item on Age Scotland’s grants list. In the last year we have also funded; mini-busses, arts festivals, walking projects, kitchen equipment, furniture, ICT equipment, summer outings, pilots for new services – just a few examples of the financial support we’ve given to help our groups grow and thrive. Almost 500 member groups received one to one support from our development officers – who travelled almost 68,000 miles.
At Christmas, and all year round, our support for older people’s groups relies on the generosity of members of the public and our corporate partners (special thanks to Wilkinson, which topped up our winter events grants pot this year by £5000.) So please support our Christmas Appeal and help us to keep Spreading the Warmth to Scotland’s older people.