Marmalade’s Christmas Cheer
Bringing joy and companionship to people who would otherwise be alone on Christmas Day
Christmas time usually conjures up joyful images of family and friends celebrating, exchanging gifts, excited chatter and delicious food. For some people however it can be a dreaded, sad and lonely time.
Marmalade Trust understands how difficult Christmas can be for someone who is struggling with loneliness. We don’t want anyone to spend Christmas Day alone if they don’t want to so we invite them to join us for a free festive lunch. A typical member is someone who is vulnerable to loneliness, for example a person of an older age who may have few or no family or friends around.
Everyone who joins us is made to feel part of our Marmalade family and is supported by our network of friendly volunteers. We currently hold our lunches in pubs or restaurants throughout Bristol, South Gloucestershire and the North Somerset region.
“Being able to get out of the house and celebrate Christmas with others was wonderful. The meal was lovely and the volunteers were great and made sure everything went well by contacting me before the day. Loved the hamper and Christmas card drawn by children.” Margaret, Bristol
“The food was very good and I enjoyed the company. It is really lovely to have somewhere to go and people to be with on Christmas Day.” 2018 member
How does it work?
Each Marmalade member is matched to one of our trained volunteers. Our volunteers call our members a few times on the run up to Christmas so they can get to know each other; this is especially important for members who may feel a little anxious about coming along as it helps to build their confidence and trust in us. It’s a nice opportunity to share the excitement of the day too!
On Christmas Day itself each member is collected from their home by their volunteer and driven to one of our lunch venues. We match them with a venue that is most local to them. On arrival they are warmly welcomed and introduced to our fellow members. Everyone sits together and enjoys a leisurely three course meal, sharing stories and making friends. At the end of the meal every member is presented with a hamper to unwrap, which for many is often their only gift. Our volunteers then return each member safely home again.
Those alone at Christmas tend to be the loneliest in society. Whilst loneliness isn’t just experienced at Christmas it’s an opportunity for us to identify those who are most isolated and to offer further support throughout the year.
Help spread some Christmas Cheer
Our lunches wouldn’t be possible without the network of people who rally around to support us, be it community organisations who refer people who are isolated, volunteers who help run the lunches or drive our members, the venues who host us, or people/companies who raise vital funds so we can continue to provide the lunches for free. Click on the icons below to find out how you can play a part in spreading some Christmas cheer this year!