Christmas comes early for older people in Paulsgrove - thanks to a roast dinner a year in the making
An early Christmas dinner that has been a year in the making has helped spread festive cheer for more than a hundred older people in need of care.
The Paulsgrove Community Centre, in Marsden Road, Paulsgrove, hosted the roast turkey dinner for older people supported by Mayfair Homecare agency.
The meal was a ‘bittersweet’ experience for one party-goer, 84-year-old Brian Collett, whose wife Joyce had been supported by the agency and invited to the dinner just three days before she died.
The former Royal Navy technology officer, who had been married to for 48 years, said: ‘I was looking forward to bringing her, but the agency said I should still come along – they have been absolutely marvellous.
‘It means a lot.’
Alongside a Christmas dinner, Brian and the other guests were able to enjoy live music from the Pompey Pluckers and a raffle as part of the event, which has been a year in the making.
Fundraising for the event, which costs more than £1,000 to put together, started immediately after last year’s meal, according to regional manager Shelley Lewis.
She said: ‘We have been running the meals for three years.
‘We have to start fundraising and organising straight away after each one.
‘This year we managed to raise more than £1,500. We raised more than £1,000 with a 26 mile walk around Portsmouth in June.’
Businesses across Portsmouth, including Harriett’s restaurant and Blue Reef Aquarium, contributed prizes to the raffle, but the agency were stuffed when it came to turkey donations, according to Shelley.
She said: ‘Usually local butchers donate a lot of the meat.
‘But we bought the turkeys this year.
‘It may be because of Brexit.’
Care agencies face an increasingly 'tough’ environment with local authority cuts, according to regional director Alison Foster, but it was ‘important’ to continue events like the Christmas dinner.
She said: ‘It’s tough.
‘There’s no money in social care.
‘We have less and less money from local authorities.
‘But today has been lovely – it's so important because there are so many people in the community that are isolated.’
The agency also recognised outstanding staff members with award winners chosen by supported older people. Carer of the Year went to Tracey Kolinsky, while Carl Banks won the Going The Extra Mile award. Lucy Podkowik, who has been with the business for four months, was chosen as the Best New Starter.