Pub donates Christmas meals for the elderly to combat loneliness

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Heart-breaking: general manager of the Kingslodge Inn Leanne Jeffrey said she wanted lonely older people to come and have their free meal.
Heart-breaking: general manager of the Kingslodge Inn Leanne Jeffrey said she wanted lonely older people to come and have their free meal.
A Durham pub has joined forces with a charity for older people to give away Christmas dinners in a bid to banish loneliness.

The Kingslodge Inn is inviting local people living in and around Durham who are facing a solitary Christmas to the pub for a free festive lunch on 19 December.

The Inn Collection Group-owned pub has teamed up with older people charity Abbeyfield’s nationwide Companionship at Christmas ​campaign which offers vulnerable older people blighted by seasonal loneliness, free, festive events across its 500-plus houses across the country.

Kingslodge general manager Leanne Jeffrey said: “Loneliness in older people is always heart-breaking but never more so than at Christmas, which we associate with good times and togetherness.

“We welcome in many older customers with their friends and families, but we know not all older people are lucky enough to be surrounded by company at Christmas.

Brought home the plight of the elderly

She added: “We heard about Abbeyfield’s Companionship at Christmas​ campaign though one of our guests who was concerned about a neighbour spending Christmas alone​.

“It really brought home the plight of the elderly, right here in our community, so we decided to help by putting on the festive meal.

“We want as many older people as possible who live alone to come along, enjoy delicious food and hopefully make new friends they will keep in touch with.”

A recent study conducted by the charity found that around 500,000 older people in the UK will be alone this Christmas and almost 75% of those surveyed said sharing food in the company of others was an essential part of a good Christmas.

Abbeyfield divisional director in the north Teresa Parker said: “We are absolutely thrilled the Kingslodge Inn is supporting Abbeyfield’s Companionship at Christmas​ campaign and is reaching out to make a difference to older people who, sadly all too often, spend their days with only the radio or television for company.

Time of crushing loneliness and isolation

She added: “Enjoying a fun-filled Christmas, surrounded by family and friends is something we often take for granted.

“It is heart-breaking to think that for an estimated 500,000 older people across the UK, Christmas is a time of crushing loneliness and isolation​, intensifying painful memories of lost loved ones, bereavement and the fear and stigma of being alone and a burden to others.

“At Abbeyfield, we are always looking for new ways to link up with the community like the Kingslodge Inn and to offer the hand of friendship to older people who are alone.

“We hope older people in and around Durham will come along and enjoy what promises to be a great day.”

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