There are many reasons why the festive season can be a trying and emotional time for some.
Perhaps it will be a first Christmas without a loved family member or maybe as a result of getting older a person’s social circle has shrunk or maybe even disappeared.
If you are concerned about someone who may be lonely over Christmas, take a look at the council’s adult social care webpages
It has information on local organisations that offer opportunities for residents to get out and about and meet people. There are suggestions for getting help with transport for those who find it difficult to get around. And it also suggests ways in which someone can stay in touch with others even if they struggle to leave their house.
The web pages can also point people in the direction of specialist organisations that can offer emotional support. Some, like the Samaritans, are nationally well known and there are others which are locally focused.
Right across our great city, churches and community groups will also be doing their bit to reach out to the lonely.
This includes:

  • FoodCycle Portsmouth and Portsmouth Cathedral are jointly hosting a lunch for up to 60 people on Christmas Day. Cathedral volunteers will provide transport and one of the local churches, St Simon’s, is lending its minibus. The meal is for people who are alone on Christmas Day, or who might otherwise not get a Christmas meal. If you would like to attend, or book a place on behalf of someone, please phone Portsmouth Cathedral on 023 9282 3300 or email
  • John Pounds Church in Old Portsmouth will aim to host 30 alone or isolated people living in PO1 for a four-course meal – the lunch is free, but donations will be gratefully accepted. To book call the church office on 023 9282 1101 and leave your name, postcode, contact telephone number and state if you are a vegetarian
  • The Drayton Centre will host a free lunch (with a refundable £10 deposit) for those in the Drayton/Farlington area. Transport can be provided free of charge if required. Please contact Olwen Brewster on 02392 382002.
  • St John’s Cathedral in Bishop Crispian Way is hosting a Christmas day meal – and transport may be provided. Email for more information.

All year round voluntary groups aim to reduce social isolation in our community for older people, those who live alone, those who are at risk or find themselves homeless.
If we all make the effort to try and help someone in need this festive season, whether it’s by volunteering or donating to those who work with people who need support we will probably enjoy our Christmas that little bit more.
Finally I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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