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Festive lunches spread Christmas cheer among socially isolated residents

PUBLISHED: 10:00 10 December 2019

Prudence Heldt and Beryl Veares enjoyed the Christmas lunch at Elmhurst Primary School. Picture: Newham Council

Prudence Heldt and Beryl Veares enjoyed the Christmas lunch at Elmhurst Primary School. Picture: Newham Council

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Elderly and vulnerable Newham residents who experience social isolation are being treated to special Christmas meals.

Residents who experience social isolation came together for a Christmas meal at Elmhurst Primary School in Upton Park. Picture: Newham CouncilResidents who experience social isolation came together for a Christmas meal at Elmhurst Primary School in Upton Park. Picture: Newham Council

Hot lunches have been organised at eight community centres for people aged 78 or over, or who are living alone or on a low income.

The council initiative brings vulnerable residents together during the festive season to help them feel part of the community and spread Christmas cheer.

Upton Park resident Beryl Veares, 77, who attended the Green Street community lunch at her former school Elmhurst Primary, said: "I really enjoyed the meal and the banter with other people.

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"It gave me a chance to dress up and make new friends, and helped me get out of my usual routine and meet others."

Many people experience loneliness and isolation at this time of the year, which can be especially hard for older residents.

Newham resident of 40 years Prudence Heldt, 80, said: "Christmas is about spending time with family and friends but sometimes that isn't possible.

"Companionship during the festive season is a lifeline for the elderly and makes the experience magical."

Other festive lunches are taking place across the borough from December 10 to 17.

Last year, more than 400 elderly and vulnerable residents enjoyed a Christmas lunch served by local schoolchildren.

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