Symposium highlights need to organise Christmas events for older people

Friday 31 July 2015
Left to right Mark Cunningham (The FED) Sheinaz Stansfield (NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG) Caroline Billington (Community Christmas) Tracy Collins (The University of Salford)

The University has hosted a symposium highlighting the need for Christmas Day events to be organised in a bid to stop older people spending the festive period alone.

The Wellcome Trust-funded seminar, entitled Developing and Evaluating Community Christmas Events, was organised by Dr Tracy Collins, from the School of Health Sciences.  It took place on 29 July 2015.

Tracy presented evaluative research findings from an event for older people living with dementia and their carers, which was held at the University on Christmas Day 2014.

Representatives from a range of organisations from across the country also attended the symposium, including Caroline Billington, from Community Christmas, who talked about how her organisation helps to develop and support Christmas events.

Mark Cunningham, from leading social care charity for the Jewish community The FED, spoke about the importance of community Passover meals and Sheinaz Stansfield, from NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG, discussed the legacy of Christmas events and how her practice has engaged the community to manage GP demands.

Figures from the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) suggest that more than 300,000 people aged over 75 spend Christmas Day alone in 2013.

Tracy said: “Through working with partner organisations, we have illustrated the positive impact of community Christmas events across a range of settings.  We also demonstrated the longer-term benefit of increased social interaction for people of all ages, which has wider implications for promoting health and well-being.

“By sharing our learning, delegates will now be better informed about developing and evaluating their own community Christmas events.”

For further information, please contact Tracy at t.collins@salford.ac.uk.