Volunteers Get Festive with Blackfriars Settlement
Blackfriars Settlement’s Older People’s Services offer a warm welcome to all who are 50+ but still young at heart. Their services are buzzing with life, fun and laughter with an activities program to suit all and a great opportunity to make new friends in a safe environment.
Nearly thirty Bankside volunteers got involved with a range of activities helping the days to run smoothly. These included the Visually Impaired Christmas Present Shopping Trip, Visually Impaired Christmas Lunch, Older Peoples Services Christmas Lunch and the Christmas Day Dinner and Celebrations.
Visually Impaired Christmas Present Shopping Trip
Each year The Visually Impaired Group or Crusoe Club go for a day trip to Poll Hill shopping centre to do their Christmas shopping. Each member of the group is buddied up with a volunteer to go around the centre and to help carry their shopping! Generally by the end of the day everyone has not only had a thoroughly enjoyable time but also made a new friend.
Visually Impaired Christmas Lunch and Older Peoples Services Christmas Lunch
With over 100 people using the Older People’s range of services there are many mouths to feed and people to entertain at their Christmas Lunches. Volunteer activities range from welcoming people and showing them to their seat, preparing and cooking the meal, doing the washing up and facilitating the entertainment afterwards.
For the main Older Peoples Services Christmas Lunch a delicious dinner was served including roast turkey, honey glazed ham, roast potatoes and all the trimmings. For vegetarians poached salmon or vegan nut roast were served. After the main meal everyone had a choice of Christmas pudding, sherry trifle or fresh fruit salad. This was followed by a band and dancing, to help burn off some of the calories and to bring the volunteers and service users together in a thoroughly enjoyable end to the day.
Christmas Day Lunch and Celebrations
Christmas Day can be a very lonely time for those without family or friends to share it with. That’s why Blackfriars Settlement put on a special lunch each year to bring together those who might otherwise spend the day alone. Volunteers with cars picked the elderly people up from their homes and brought them to the centre where other volunteers were busy preparing and cooking the meal. After the lunch some Christmas presents** were handed out and easy entertainment such as playing Bingo or having a sing along were facilitated. With the washing up done, everyone well fed and after having a lovely day, all of the elderly people were dropped safely home by the volunteers wishing each other a very Merry Christmas.
Thank you to the many volunteers from UBM and NEST who helped to bring some festive cheer to local elderly people this Christmas. All of these activities were coordinated by Tina Johnston who afterwards said
“As always, every year, the older people’s services Christmas Lunches create an exciting and merry atmosphere at the settlement. It is wonderful for us to watch our Elders, enjoying themselves with their friends. These events not only bring people together but contribute to their health and wellbeing, boost their morale, and reduce isolation.”
sak [at] betterbankside.co.uk (subject: local%20volunteering) (If you are interested in exploring local volunteering opportunities get in touch.)
**Some of the Christmas presents were donated as part of the Better Bankside Together at Christmas Gift campaign bringing gifts to local homeless, vulnerably housed and elderly people who otherwise might not receive a gift at Christmas.
About Blackfriars Settlement
Blackfriars Settlement is a local charity who works with people, creating opportunities for them to achieve their aspirations, gain new skills, build their confidence and provide them with opportunities to have fun and make friends. They have a range of services working with a variety of people from different backgrounds and age groups. More information can be found on their website here.