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Spirit of Christmas alive as volunteers put on event for older people

Friday 23 December 2016

A team of volunteers enabled more than 50 older people and their carers to get together and enjoy a social Christmas dinner.

The Salford Community Christmas event, held on December 21 at the Humphrey Booth Resource Centre in Swinton, was organised by the Salford Institute for Dementia, part of the University of Salford.

The event – the third the institute has organised – was for people who find it difficult to leave their homes or find that with their increasing age and disabilities their social circle has rapidly diminished.

Many were brought to the party by volunteers while a local taxi service offered free trips to enable guests to make it to the event.

Guests were treated to performances by the University’s Gemini Choir and folk music from The Lamplighters, as well as a traditional Christmas dinner.

Carer William Buskey, who attended the event, said: “This really lifted my mood and made me feel that carers like me aren’t alone.”

Claire Marrett, who helped organise this event from the Institute said: “With all the family and happy images that surround Christmas, for many it is a lonely time and a period they do not look forward to.

“We feel very fortunate to have organised this - to be able to spend time bringing people together, with many who attended being virtually housebound for a variety of reasons. To offer them a day where we could care for them and bring Christmas to them is amazing! We couldn’t have done this without all the volunteers – the Christmas spirit was really visible.”

Salford City Council co-ordinated a massive collection of Christmas gifts, with young people from the Youth Offending Service wrapping the gifts and distributed them on the day, while there were also donations from local business.

Sarah, a recent graduate of Social Work from the University, who volunteered on the event, said: “This has made my Christmas  - it has really warmed my heart to be here and help.”

The Humphrey Booth Resource centre is a dementia hub which runs events such as Singing for Dementia and hosts events where people living with dementia can feel safe and take part in a varieties of activities.