Press releases

Nation urged to help people who may be lonely this Christmas

Thursday 19 December 2013

 

  • New Waitrose poll shows the average person will see or speak to 10 people this Christmas day. And nearly 60 per cent of us rate spending time with family and friends as something we are most looking forward to.
  • But for some this is the loneliest time of the year, with many elderly and vulnerable people facing up to a Christmas day with no human contact at all.
  • Nearly a fifth of us are planning to pop in on someone we know or volunteer this Christmas - and more than a third of 16 to 24-year-olds are planning to give their time.
  • The retailer is supporting almost 500 Christmas dinner events across the country - attended by 40,000 people who would otherwise be on their own.


New research released today shows two thirds of people 55 and over (66 per cent) rate spending time with family and friends as one of the things they are most looking forward to this Christmas.

This is a stark contrast to those facing up to a Christmas day alone. But the poll also found almost a fifth of us plan either to pop in on someone we know may be lonely or volunteer this Christmas.

And more than a third (37 per cent) of 16 to 24-year-olds said they were planning to give their time.

Says Waitrose community manager Tina Varns: 'It is great to hear how enthusiastic young people are about volunteering. With Christmas less than a week away many of us are finalising arrangements for time with family and friends - but for many the festive build up is a really lonely time.

'Through our Christmas dinners campaign we have heard the most fantastic stories about people helping others in their community - and we're so cheered to hear so many people are thinking of others at this important time.'

The Waitrose Christmas campaign is helping to support - with money, food and volunteers - nearly 500 Christmas dinner events across the country. The events will be attended by more than 40,000 people who would otherwise be on their own - whether elderly, homeless or otherwise vulnerable people.

Contact the Elderly is a national charity which organises regular social gatherings throughout the year. The organisation works with thousands of people aged 75 and over who have little or no support from nearby friends or family. The charity is always looking for volunteers to help organise the tea parties and tackle social isolation and loneliness.

The charity is always searching for volunteers to make these events happen. Cliff Rich, Executive Officer London and the South, says: 'Contact the Elderly is committed to offering a lifeline of friendship to the oldest and loneliest people. This would not be possible without the dedication of our fantastic volunteers.

'Anyone who can spare a couple of hours one Sunday a month, has a driving licence, a car and a capacity for drinking tea, is eligible! And for those interested in becoming a host, it would just involve a couple of hours once or twice a year. It's not a big commitment, and our volunteers genuinely get as much out of the experience as our older guests.'

Harold, 89, from Ilkley, said: 'The time I feel most lonely is after six o'clock at night but when I have been out to a Contact tea then I don't feel lonely at all, just fresh memories of a lovely afternoon out with friends. It is good getting out and meeting people and it is fun for us to get together. It has made such a difference to my life.'


Notes to editors


The poll:
According to the Opinions Matters research released by Waitrose today:

  • The average person will see or speak to 10 people this Christmas day
  • 59 per cent of people rate spending time with family and friends as something they are most looking forward to this Christmas day
  • Two thirds (66 per cent) of people over 55 rate spending time with family and friends as something they are most looking forward to this Christmas day
  • Nearly a fifth of people (19 per cent) plan to volunteer this Christmas season
  • The most keen to volunteer are 16-24 year olds, with 37 per cent of respondents planning to help someone out or pop in on an elderly person this festive season. For more than two thirds of this group it's their first time of doing so.


Research:
Carried out for Waitrose by Opinion Matters between: 10/12/2013 and 12/12/2013. Sample: 1,389 UK adults.  All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act (1998).


Enquiries

For further information, please contact:

Jess Hughes
Corporate Communications Manager, Waitrose
Telephone: 01344 825080
Email: jess_hughes@waitrose.co.uk

Jo Maish
Corporate Press Assistant, Waitrose
Telephone: 01344 825080
Email: jo_maish@waitrose.co.uk