Communities across Norfolk set to come together to ensure no one spends Christmas alone
- Credit: Belinda Roll
Rock band Mud may have been feeling lonely at Christmas but to prevent the same happening to people in Norfolk, dozens of organisations are opening their doors to ensure no-one spends the festive season alone.
Organised by Norfolk County Council, No Lonely Day This Christmas will see more than 30 organisations across the county open their doors to people who may be lonely or socially isolated this Christmas.
The initiative is part of the district authority's wider campaign, In Good Company, which aims to help ensure that no one in the county spends a day lonely, if they don't want to.
The wealth of events taking place across the county include Open Christmas in Norwich and Great Yarmouth, Christmas Day lunches organised by The Salvation Army in Diss, Thetford and Norwich and dozens of community centres, churches, village halls and at least two private houses opening their doors to people.
There are also a number of organisations offering support and advice to people who may be struggling over the holiday season.
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Councillor Bill Borrett, chair of the adult social care committee, said: 'The festive season is a time of year that I'm especially fond of. But I know full well that for many others – and particularly those who are on their own – this time of year can be particularly tough.
'So it's a fantastic testimony to Norfolk's thriving community spirit that so many organisations are offering free or low-cost Christmas lunches and get-togethers for anyone who would welcome some company this year.
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'These events, and the marvellous people who run them, reflect the spirit and aim of Norfolk County Council's In Good Company campaign, which is to help ensure that no one spends a lonely day in Norfolk if they don't want to.'
A full list of events and activities can be found on the Norfolk Community Directory at www.norfolk.gov.uk/community-directory – search 'Christmas'.
The directory is an important 'one stop' resource for people to find activities and services near them. It holds a comprehensive list of groups and organisations offering activities throughout the year, volunteering opportunities and information about where to go for support and advice.
For more information about Norfolk County Council's In Good Company campaign visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/InGoodCompany
Part of a wider campaign to tackle loneliness
As part of its ongoing efforts to tackle loneliness and social isolation in the county, Norfolk County Council has launched a range of new outreach services.
Aiming to provide accessible support to people across the county the new range of services include a county-wide network of 'Life Connectors' who work directly with people to provide coaching, practical advice and support to help people make and strong links within their community.
Mr Borrett said: 'I'm very proud that we are leading the way when it comes to tackling this big issue.
'This is another example of how, in spite of the significant funding pressures we are facing in Adult Social Care, we will invest in services that help our residents to live independent, healthy lives for as long as possible in stronger, more resilient, communities.
'They're also part of our award-winning In Good Company campaign, launched two years ago, which has been recognised as best practice by the Government, Jo Cox Commission, Campaign to End Loneliness and Local Government Association.'
The services are provided to Norfolk residents aged 18 and over through:
•The Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk's established Lily service. Formerly focused on supporting people in later life, Lily has now expanded to work with all adults in West Norfolk and Swaffham over the age of 18.
•The Better Together Norfolk service by Voluntary Norfolk to support residents living in central, southern and eastern parts of the county.
•The new CAN Connect service by Community Action Norfolk, to support North Norfolk residents.
•Open Christmas events
For anyone who finds themselves alone or homeless on Christmas Day
Sports Hall at the Marina Centre
St Andrew's Hall, Norwich. 11am - 5pm
• St Augustine's Christmas Day Breakfast
St Augustine's free Christmas day breakfast for people who are homeless or isolated.
The breakfast will be held at 10am in St Augustines Church Hall, Pitt Street, Norwich, NR3 1DS
No need to book.
• Christmas Day at The St Giles Salvation Army, Norwich
The day will start with a church service at 11am followed by a three course lunch at 12.30pm.
There is no charge for the day although booking is essential.
For more information and to book call: 01603 620747
•Long Stratton Christmas Day lunch
Full three course Christmas lunch with vegetarian option, free to those who need it, including families.
Booking is essential, call: 01508 530238 to book a place.
Long Stratton Village Hall, Ipswich Road, Long Stratton, NR15 2TA
• Holt Community Cafe, Christmas Day lunch
Traditional Christmas two-course lunch, vegetarian option available followed by music, movies, games and more.
Holt Community Cafe, Kerridge Way, Holt, NR25 6DN
Booking is essential, call 07519323974 or 07824987174 to reserve a place.
•St Faith's Church Gaywood Christmas Day Lunch
Christmas day lunch in the Church room, Gaywood , Kings Lynn PE30 4DZ
• Wicklewood Christmas Community Lunch, December, 26 2018
Complimentary community festive lunch, Wicklewood Hall, High Street, Wicklewood NR18 9QA
• Our House, Matishall Christmas day lunch
For those living alone in Mattishall
12pm-2pm, Our House, 36 Burgh Lane, Mattishall, NR20 3QP,
• St Mary's Church Hall, Attleborough, Boxing Day Tea Party
Boxing day tea party for those alone in Attleborough
2-5pm St Mary's Church Hall, Church Street, Attleborough, NR17 2AH.
• Bailey's Fish and Chips, Diss, Christmas Day meal
Free meal to ensure no-one eats alone of Christmas Day
3-5pm Baileys Fish and Chip Shop, 68 Shelfanger Road, Diss, IP22 4EH