Spreading Christmas cheer

For many older people who live alone Christmas can be one of the loneliest times of the year.

This is not so in Winchester where 100 pensioners recently got together to enjoy an old-fashioned knees-up and singalong courtesy of the City Council.

Proving that age is no barrier to having fun, some 90-year-olds even took to the dance floor at the Christmas party which was organised for sheltered housing tenants by Winchester City Council’s Tenant Involvement team.

Cllr Caroline Horrill, the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, said:

The Christmas party brought together sheltered tenants from across the district. It was all about reducing isolation and encouraging older people to get out, socialise and have fun.

We run regular events throughout the year to help keep our older tenants mentally and physically active and to help reduce loneliness, which is particularly relevant at Christmas time for those who live alone with no family nearby.

Free transport was laid on to enable tenants from the Council’s 12 sheltered housing schemes to enjoy the festive extravaganza at Winchester’s Holiday Inn hotel.

The pensioners, many of whom have poor mobility and dementia, were treated to a three-course Christmas lunch, carol-singing by pupils from Winnall Primary School, a Vera Lynn-style singer, a nostalgic quiz and a free raffle (with prizes donated by local construction company Osborne).

Joan, a Winchester City Council sheltered housing tenant, said:

If it wasn’t for this lunch I wouldn’t have had a Christmas. It was wonderful to get together with other people and share a wonderful afternoon full of smiles and laughter.