POLITICAL leaders have given their support to The News’ campaign to end loneliness for older people this Christmas.
Our call for Christmas gifts and volunteers has been met with a fantastic response from our readers.
I hope the Christmas campaign makes people more aware of their neighbours and of the loneliness they may be feeling
And now the Don’t Let Them Be Lonely campaign has garnered support from MPs and council leaders.
Gosport leader Mark Hook said: ‘I absolutely support the campaign.
‘It’s sad that there are people who live in our communities but are not part of our communities.
‘I hope the Christmas campaign makes people more aware of their neighbours and of the loneliness they may be feeling.
‘At this time of year it would be very nice for people to reach out.’
Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘It’s a fantastic initiative.
‘This is exactly what’s missing in society, people thinking about neighbours, thinking about people less fortunate or less able than themselves. We can restore a strong sense of community spirit and enrich everyone’s lives.’
The News is supporting Age UK Portsmouth with its Christmas party for the city’s most vulnerable older people.
On December 23 a group of 30 members of Age UK Portsmouth will be treated for the afternoon with a tasty Christmas dinner.
It will probably be the only one they have and the organisers would love to be able to give them each a special gift to unwrap.
They can be dropped off at The News offices across the area, as well as the Bradbury Centre, in Kingston Road, Portsmouth.
And we are encouraging people to sign up and volunteer with the Good Neighbours support service in Fareham, Gosport, Havant and Waterlooville, to offer a couple of hours a week helping an older person.
In Portsmouth, the Salvation Army is urgently looking to recruit befrienders willing to build friendships with an older person, who may have no other contact with the outside world.
Mike Cheshire, leader of Havant Borough Council, said: ‘I know there is a huge problem with older people being isolated and lonely.
‘Isolation is dreadful and to not have any contact with other people, particularly at this time of year, is the worst.
‘We fully support everything The News is doing to help those affected.’