Published Monday 9 December 2019 at 15:44
There’s no need for anyone to be alone over Christmas thanks to kind-hearted community groups planning festive meals for isolated and vulnerable people, as well as local celebrations.
Blackburn with Darwen’s social integration programme – Our Community, Our Future – has given funding to various community groups to help them bring people together at what isn’t always a happy time of year for everyone.
Local charity Secret Santa is providing meals for a number of Christmas lunch events for elderly or isolated residents, and refugees:
- On Thursday 12 December at Derwent Hall in Darwen – 100 free places are available – contact Derwent Hall on 01254 702259 for more information
- On Thursday 12 December at Blues Bar, Ewood Park – 75 free places have already been taken
- On Christmas Day at Ivy Street Community Centre in Blackburn – 40 free places are available – for more information and to book places, contact the community centre on 01254 55977 or Ivyst.email@example.com.
In the Lammack area of Blackburn, the Lammack Association is working with Lammack Methodist Church, The Prayer Room and the Hare & Hounds pub to bring people together for a Christmas meal on Wednesday 18 December, hosted in the pub on Lammack Road. A total of 60 tickets have gone to lonely and isolated people living in the Lammack area.
On Friday 20 December Arts2Heal is hosting a Christmas lunch for Blackburn West Health Group. Around 30 of the group’s service users, people with mild to moderate mental health issues, will gather together at Arts2Heal’s base in James Street, Blackburn.
On Monday 23 December, Darwen Food Share is inviting their regular drop-in service users to a Christmas meal. Astley Bank Hotel in Darwen is providing the food, and Our Community, Our Future funding will pay for food hampers for guests to take away to enjoy over the Christmas period. This event is a partnership between Darwen Food Share, Community Spirit Blackburn, Secret Santa, Helping Hands & Food Larder and the Friends of Whitehall Park Gardening Community Project. Local Rainbows, Brownies and Guides are getting involved too, making festive table decorations for the event.
Sayyed Osman, Director of Adult Services & Prevention, said:
This time of year really does bring out the best in people and it’s fantastic to see so many community groups working together to make sure no one needs to feel lonely this Christmas.
Thank you to all the volunteers who get involved in the organisation and running of these events – they’re undoubtedly going to have a huge impact for the people they’re supporting.
There are several other community groups planning Christmas events at venues across the borough:
- On Tuesday 10 December between 12 & 3pm Shadsworth Hub Community Centre is hosting a Christmas meal – tickets cost £5
- On Thursday 12 December between 6 & 8pm Shadsworth Hub Community Centre is hosting a children’s Christmas party on Thursday 12 December between 6 & 8pm – tickets cost £2
- On Saturday 14 December between 5 & 7pm Shadsworth Hub Community Centre is hosting a Santa Meet & Greet, which is free to local residents
- On Monday 16 December from 6.30pm Shadsworth Hub Community Centre is also holding a Turkey & Wine event – tickets are £3
- On Tuesday 17 December from 10.30am Greenfields Community Centre is planning a lunchtime Christmas buffet with music and dancing – tickets are £5
- On Wednesday 18 December between 12 & 3.30pm Greenfields Community Centre is also arranging a three course Christmas meal – tickets are £5
- On Thursday 19 December Ivy Street Community Centre is hosting two free festive events – one for parents with children, another for vulnerable people and their carers
- On Thursday 19 December between 6 & 7.30pm Shadsworth Hub Community Centre is holding a Chocolate Bingo event – tickets are £2.
For more information and to buy tickets, contact the community centres direct. Contact details for all the centres are available on the Council website.
A number of local charities are also supporting people in need this festive season.
The Al Imdaad Foundation is distributing festive food parcels on Sunday 22 and Sunday 29 December, from their base on Audley Range in Blackburn. Contact Al Imdaad on 01254 698771 for more information.
Blackburn UK Trust will also be sharing food parcels every Wednesday during December, including on Christmas Day itself, between 7 and 8pm from Wesley Hall Methodist Church on Feilden Street in Blackburn. Contact Arman Zaman 07722 631434 on for more information.