Communities coming together at Christmas

While most of us are looking forward to the festive period, this can be the loneliest time of year for thousands of older people throughout Scotland. Around 80,000 older people say that the TV is their only source of company over Christmas and New Year, with nearly one in five keeping it on all day because “it’s lovely to hear human voices”.

Our Christmas campaign “No one should have no one”, aims to highlight the extent of loneliness and isolation in Scotland and encourage people to take action in their communities. We’ve been delighted to hear back from so many amazing people who are doing their part to bring people together over the festive period.

Here are the fantastic Christmas Day and Boxing Day events on offer that we have heard about. You can do your part by helping spread the word about these and any other events in your local community!


Age Scotland Orkney and the Salvation Army are hosting a Christmas Day lunch for anyone who would otherwise be spending Christmas Day alone. Transport can be provided. Event details


A Renfrewshire based project providing Christmas lunch; including transport, 3 course dinner, entertainment and a little gift and for those who are financially struggling a gift card to use in supermarket. Event details


The No.1 Befriending Agency and The Real Junk Food Project Glasgow are offering a three course Christmas lunch on Boxing Day. Event details


Open doors and free Christmas dinner as part of the Edinburgh Cheer campaign. From 11am at Tynecastle stadium in West Edinburgh and from 11:45am at Easter Road Stadium in North Edinburgh > Event details


Lochside Community Centre have offered an open invitation for Christmas dinner and entertainment from 1pm to 6pm on Christmas Day > Event details

“Altogether Christmas” Day Party at Noblehill Community Centre – including cold buffet, festive treats with music and carols > Event details


Head along to the Back to Basics Christmas Day drop in lunch – The Base, Grange Church, Woodstock Street, Kilmarnock 12-2pm on Christmas Day. All welcome – no questions, no charge.


Newbattle Parish Church Ministry Team are offering a 3-course Christmas dinner for people who would otherwise be alone. Transport within 3 miles of Mayfield (EH22 ) can be arranged and venue is wheelchair accessible. Contact Erika Pryde at


Free four course Christmas meal with a gift at St James the Less Church Hall in Penicuik > Event details

If you have an event to add to our list please contact

Have a Merry Christmas!



No one should have no one at Christmas

On the 5th of December, Age Scotland launched their ‘No one should have no one at Christmas’ campaign to raise awareness of loneliness and social isolation among older people over the Christmas period and beyond.

Loneliness is a problem all year round but nearly 65,000 older people in Scotland say they feel lonelier at Christmas. Cold weather in winter months can prevent some older people from getting out to socialise and the emphasis society places on spending time with family and friends at this time of year can intensify the feeling of having no one.

So what can we do about it?

As part of our campaign ‘no one should have no one at Christmas’ we are encouraging everyone to think about what they can do to address and prevent loneliness in their local community. It can be anything from checking in on an older neighbour to see if they would like a cup of tea and a chat to volunteering with a local group or charity that supports older people.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon helped kick off our campaign, joining us for an intergenerational Christmas tea party at Port of Leith Housing Association. The tea party was the culmination of a project organised by the Pilmeny Development Project where young and older people have been learning about each other’s lives and taking part in social activities together.

The First Minister joined pupils from Drummond Community High school and tenants from the housing association to play pass the parcel, take part in a Christmas quiz, and chat over some mince pies.


First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP said: “Dealing with loneliness and isolation can be incredibly difficult, but at this time of year it’s especially heart-breaking to see that so many older Scots will spend Christmas alone. Age Scotland’s work to ensure that ‘No one should have no one at Christmas’ is vitally important, and everyone can play a part.

“By reaching out to older people in their street or community – by taking them out, doing a good deed or simply having a chat – people can have a hugely positive impact on the wellbeing and happiness of an older person.”

The First Minister also kicked off our #EndLoneliness pledge by pledging to drop in on an older neighbour over Christmas. We are now calling on everyone to share what they will do to end loneliness in their local community.


A great example is little Evie who made Christmas cards at nursery and asked her mum if she could give them to people who wouldn’t be getting any this year. Evie and her mum headed down to their local day care centre in Prestonpans and spent some time handing out cards and hugs and making new friends.


Many of the individuals at the day centre do not have any family and would likely not receive a Christmas card this year and Evie’s kind gesture went a long way.

What could you do to end loneliness in your local community? Share your ideas and plans with us on social media using the hashtag #EndLoneliness

Age Scotland works to eradicate loneliness and social isolation among older people in Scotland by supporting and developing local groups and projects and running a free helpline.

To support Age Scotland’s work in local communities, please text HUGS16 £5 to 70070 now to donate £5 or visit our Just Giving page to make a secure online donation. Thank you.

More than Bingo

Age Scotland Development Officer, Laura Dunkel, recently visited Gilmerton 60+ group to award them with a cheque for an Age Scotland grant of £1938.00. 

Gilmerton 60+ Group

Gilmerton 60+ Group accept their Cheque from Laura Dunkel

The money will be used to buy equipment, such as board games, laptop, projector and an audio system, which will enhance the activities on offer for group members. This grant will also be used to pay for the food and drink at the group’s Christmas party at the local Waverley Inn.

The Gilmerton 60+ group runs on a Monday, Tuesday and Friday and consist of over 30 members who are collected from their home and brought to the group at Gilmerton Community Centre. At the group they have lunch in the company of others and enjoy a range of activities and games, such as bingo, dominoes, bowls, gentle exercise and arts and crafts.

Gilmerton 60+ group chairperson, Brian Mahon, said: ‘This grant will be invaluable help in purchase of computer equipment and in the running of our Christmas parties this year. As we rely on voluntary contributions, these grants, such as Age Scotland, are vital to improving this thriving club, which is run by care worker and administrator, Kathleen Manson and a team of volunteers.’

Laura said: ‘Its fantastic for us to be able to support the Gilmerton 60+ group. They work really hard running this wonderful group and the older people here really enjoy it. One lady told me that she looks forward to the group all week, and it’s the only time she leaves her house. Reducing social isolation amongst older people is really important to Age Scotland, and supporting local groups is a key way for us to do this.’

If you have a few hours to spare and could volunteer with the Gilmerton 60+ group, please contact the group through Gilmerton Community Centre on 0131 664 2335.

For information or advice about any aspect of the ageing journey, call the Age Scotland Helpline on 0845 125 9732. Help us continue to provide grants to help end isolation for older people by donating to Age Scotland.

The Big Knit

For the past nine years Big Knit supporters have knitted millions of little woolly hats for Innocent smoothies, with money from every bottle sold going towards supporting older people during the chilly winter months. Rhian Thompson, Digital Communications Officer, takes a look above the bottle.

Age Scotland hats

Beautiful hats from our busy knitters

Most of the weird and wonderful hats come from the people who directly benefit from Age Scotland’s services. Here in Scotland, 17 member groups joined in and between them an incredible 32,400 hats were contributed. Also we received hats from many individuals who enjoyed joining in.


Joanna Senew, Director, Home instead brings in the woolies

“The ladies who kindly knitted the bundle of hats from Portobello all said that they had great fun doing it and were very happy indeed to know that their efforts were going to help older people’s projects  in our local community.  They will be mobilised again next year along with some new recruits (I hope) so that the bundle of adorable hats from Edinburgh’s Seaside will keep growing to support the work that Age Scotland are doing.’ Joanna Senew, Director, Home Instead

All of the money raised through the hats knitted by local Age UK/Age Scotland’s centres goes directly back to allow them to continue providing support to older people in their local community.

But, what can you do with your hat once you have drunk your juice?  A boiled egg cosy? Send Barbie and Ken skiing? A hat for a snake? Please add any ideas you may have in the comment section. below…

This year’s behatted bottles are available in Sainsbury’s from today! Innocent’s Hat of the Week blog can be found here.