Press releases

Waitrose launches drive to tackle isolation at Christmas

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Waitrose is today launching a major new initiative to help support elderly, homeless and vulnerable people this Christmas.

The retailer will help provide Christmas lunch events across the country for people who would otherwise be on their own on Christmas Day.

With more than three quarters of a million Brits over 65 saying they always or often feel lonely* the support is aimed at cutting these numbers at what for many others is the most sociable time of the year.

The drive will see:

  • Every Waitrose shop supporting community Christmas lunch events – offering food, money and other resources
  • Hundreds of Waitrose volunteering hours being offered for Waitrose Partners to help plan events (while being fully paid by Waitrose)
  • Waitrose asking its customers through customer publications to think of people in their community who might be lonely this Christmas and make small actions that might make a big difference.

Each of the retailer's nearly 300 shops has an allocation of money and volunteering time to put towards community Christmas dinner events.

Waitrose is asking groups to apply for this support from their local branch if they are already organising – or thinking of organising - such a lunch.

Says Waitrose Community Manager Tina Varns: 'As a food business we're acutely aware of how important Christmas is to so many people. But for many it can be the most lonely time of the year.

'Through our Community Matters initiative (green tokens) our shops have been able to support such incredible work going on in communities across the country over the last five years - and we've learned first-hand how vital this kind of support is at providing lifelines to vulnerable people. This new Isolation Campaign will complement the great work our shops are already doing in their local communities - and we're excited about the difference it will make to so many people.'

Notes to editors

* TNS Agenda for Later Life survey for Age UK, 2013

  • Waitrose is asking organisers of local Christmas dinner events to get in touch with their local Waitrose shop, where they can apply for support from the retailer.  The deadline for requests is 15 November
  • The Waitrose Community Matters (green tokens) initiative is five years old this year, and in that time Waitrose has given £14 million to 40,000 good causes across the country
  • Through the Waitrose Partner Volunteering initiative, every Waitrose shop has 250 hours each year for Partners to volunteer – while paid their usual wages – at local good causes.  Convenience shops have 100 hours each year. Across the country this equates to more than 9,000 working days each year that Waitrose Partners volunteer for good causes while being paid.


For further information please contact:

Jess Hughes
Corporate Communications Manager, Waitrose
Telephone: 01344 824294
Mobile: 07764 676850