We all need a little extra warmth and caring over the winter – especially at Christmas. Check out our guide on ways to find some comfort and kindness this festive season.
Christmas can lose its sparkle for so many reasons. If you find yourself struggling to cope financially or if you’re in need of some friendly company, find out who can help in your neighbourhood. Here are just a few ideas:
Food supplies If the extra pressure of winter means you’re struggling to make ends meet, your local foodbank offers much more than just something to eat. Jill Coyle is Manager at Billingham and Stockton Borough Foodbank. She said: “We know that people don’t want to have to come to a foodbank so we make sure they receive a warm welcome and someone to talk to who knows how they feel. Many of our volunteers have used the service so have walked in their shoes and can pass on helpful information.
“At Billingham we also have a clothes bank, uniform banks, and baby supplies bank, and we even have a cook who’ll make you something nice to eat when you arrive.”
Get in touch with Karbon via the usual channels if you’re in need of a referral to your local food bank or contact your local council.
Warm meal and a chance to get out Many organisations and charities across the North serve warm, home-cooked meals, in friendly surroundings, at a low cost or sometimes for free. Rosie Robinson is Community Café Supervisor at St Vincent’s Blackfriars, known as SVP, in the Ouseburn in Newcastle. She said: “We run a pay as you please café offering a range of comforting meals.
If you enjoy your food and can afford to, we invite you to make a donation to cover the cost. This allows us to provide more meals for those who can’t pay. We also run a free lunchtime dropin once a week, where we serve a healthy, three-course meal.
“It’s a very positive place to come for food and a bit of a break. There’s always lots going on at the centre so you can find out about other activities you might like and meet people who have things in common with you.”
Visit the website for more information www.svp-blackfriars.org.uk or call 0191 261 6027.
Help with budgeting Our Money Matters Team is always available to help you with advice on how to make your money go further, or direct you to others that can help.
Christmas lunch No older person should be alone on Christmas Day unless they want to be. That’s what Community Christmas firmly believes and it’s why the organisation helps encourage hundreds of community Christmas lunch events, right across the North and the rest of the UK.
They’ve set up a handy website that lists all of the places offering everything from a traditional turkey dinner or meal with others at a local pub, to tea and cake with local community groups and even Christmas film viewings.
Though the main aim is to provide companionship to older people, many of the events organised welcome people of all ages.
Just pop your postcode into the search bar on the website www.communitychristmas.org.uk and you’ll find a list of suggested events near you. Alternatively, call 0800 716 543 to speak to someone directly.