Harrogate-based charity Supporting Older People (SOP) – an organisation committed to providing care, support, friendship and advice to elderly people and their families – has launched it’s Christmas programme as it seeks to highlight the impact of loneliness on health.
By 2020, the number of Harrogate residents aged 85+ will have increased from 5400, to almost 6000. This growing population is facing increasing isolation and SOP wants to step up efforts this festive season to tackle the challenge of loneliness, which can have as much physical detriment as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
To make the season that bit brighter, SOP has built a comprehensive Christmas programme which is already underway and runs until 20th December. Activities feature meet-ups, a shopping trip to Batley Mill, a visit to Castle Howard’s Twelve Days of Christmas and of course the chance to enjoy some festive food and drink at their annual Christmas party organised by the team at Harrogate Volkswagen. As well as a full programme, the team is also appealing for new volunteers and those willing to spare an hour a week to help with befriending, service that really can change lives for older people.
Kate Rogata, Director of SOP said:
While loneliness is something we must address all year round, Christmas can be a particularly isolating time for the elderly and that’s why we’re reaching out not just to those who might like to attend our activities, but to people who may wish to refer someone to us.
We’ve got a really exciting calendar of events lined up and of course, welcome any additional volunteers to help facilitate it!
Pearl, a client, said:
I’m 96 years old, and my family live away from Harrogate. I’ve made new friends at SOP’s Tea and Talk and have recruited more ladies from where I live to come along too.
This has made an enormous difference to me and I’m not dreading Christmas anymore.
Elderly people, or families of those interested in attending can find out more about the festive events programme, or book a place at any of the activities by calling SOP on 01423 531490.