Connect at Christmas

A list of Somerset events and activities to tackle loneliness over the festive season is now online.

Backed by Somerset County Council, it has been pulled together by the Community Council for Somerset, and highlights activities that anyone can join in over Christmas and New Year.

From carol services to coffee mornings, lunch clubs to Christmas Bingo, there are events in every district and if you’re not in a position to look online then you can call the Community Council for more detail.

The festive season is a time when families and friends traditionally get together but it can be particularly tough for anyone who is on their own, and not through choice.

Statistics from the ‘Campaign to End Loneliness’ shows that 17 per cent of older people are in contact with family, friends and neighbours less than once a week and 11 per cent are in contact less than once a month.

Keeley Rudd, Chief Executive of the Community Council for Somerset explained:  “Our team of Village, Community and Carers compiled the directory to support isolated people they work with to find fun and sociable activities in their community over the festive period.  The Somerset Christmas Directory has evolved into a fantastic resource that everyone can use!

“Loneliness and isolation are a major concern in our rural Somerset communities, and the Christmas season can magnify those issues. By showing people what’s happening around their local area, hopefully it will encourage people to access these amazing events.”

Councillor Christine Lawrence, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing said:  “Somerset communities are already very supportive of their community members and offer a whole range of activities to help you to find connections in your local area and meet like-minded people.  Whatever your interests there will be a group that is waiting to welcome you.”

So, if you are at a loose end and don’t want to be on your own over the festive period visit their website at http://somersetrcc.org.uk/somerset-christmas-directory or call them on 01823 331222.

Or you can visit www.communitychristmas.org.uk  for a list of events going on over Christmas for the older generation.

Also, if you are struggling or have any concerns or worries you can visit your local Community Connect drop-in for a friendly informal chat and get all the advice and information you need.

The team at the Community Connect drop-in can help with everything, from finding a local social group and support with your money to help with transport or support for carers.  Find your local one at www.somerset.gov.uk/dropin or call the Adult Social Care customer services on 0300 123 2224.

If you need help over the holiday period when your GP surgery or pharmacy is closed, you can phone NHS 111 or visit www.nhs.uk

The Silver Line is always there for a confidential and free chat and they are ready to hear from any older person. Ring them on 0800 470 80 90. Lines are open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.  Or you can phone Age UK Somerset to find out more about their befriending service on 01823 345618.

If you are holding a Christmas event for older people in Somerset this Christmas you can help to spread the word and encourage people to attend by contacting the Community Council for Somerset on 01823 331222 with details.

Ends

For further information, please contact the Press Office on 01823 355020 or email pressoffice@somerset.gov.uk