A group of Shropshire mothers and toddlers are getting together to host a Christmas party with the aim of bringing the oldest and youngest in the community together at a time of year which for many holds joy and happiness, but can also be one of the loneliest.
It follows the recent success of a inter-generational televised experiment to tackle loneliness and increase well-being in older adults.
Almost a million older people say they feel lonelier at Christmas (based on research by Age UK), and half a million older people can go up to a week without seeing or speaking to anyone.
In the experiment filmed by channel 4 ‘Old People’s home for 4 Year Olds’ showed how bringing together a group of retirement community residents and preschool children positively transformed the lives of the participants including that of the parents.
Annie Hambley, the organiser of the event and parent said:
“It was a really emotional, enlightening and beautiful programme and has inspired me to put together this party and hopefully the foundations of a similar inter-generational projects for the young and old in our community to get to know each other, share interests, talents and activities, play and learn and most importantly spend some lovely time together with the hope that they will continue to keep in regular contact through visits, phone calls and letters.
“Christmas is such a special time of year for so many, especially children who see nothing more than the magic of it all, I wanted to share some of that magic and joy with people that for one reason or another may be feeling sad or lonely.
“I know personally having lost my dad last year that there is nothing like a child’s laugh or smile to help bring a glimmer of happiness back and I am so grateful to Palmers, Age UK and all the wonderful people in our community which are helping make this wonderful party possible and I would like to invite the old and the young to come along and enjoy some traditional Festive cheer and a mince pie or two!”
Judy James, Central manager and community liaisons from Palmers said:
“We are thrilled to be part of this event and to Support Annie in this new venture. Age Uk uses our Central building at various points during the week, we also have baby and toddlers groups so what better than to bring everyone together at this special time of year.
“There are proven statistics to see how occasions such as this will benefit the mental health of older generations whilst also providing role models and support to parents and their children. A win win in my book.”
The free Community Christmas Event on Monday 10th of December at 10.30am is kindly being hosted at Palmers Café, part of the Shrewsbury Baptist Church Central, and will bring together the older people in the county with some of the youngest and their parents to share some festive fun, food, games, music, dancing and above all companionship.
The event is being supported by the Shrewsbury branch of Age UK and is being made possible by the kind and generous donations of food, drink, decorations and gifts from local people and businesses.
For further information on the event, or to donate please contact Annie Hambley on 07462792822 or Sarah Pierpoint (Age UK) 01743 233788.
The Old Peoples Home for 4-year-olds will also be bringing intergenerational friends back together for an hour-long Christmas special, airing on Channel 4 at 9pm on 18 December.