Befriending charity brings together 150 older people for Doncaster Christmas party

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A befriending charity is to bring 150 older people together for a huge Christmas party in Doncaster.

B:friend, a charity combatting loneliness and social isolation in South Yorkshire, parts of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, is organising the special party.

Older neighbours from 11 b:friend Social Clubs from South Yorkshire and Chesterfield will join the festivities from 11am to 2pm on 19 December at Parklands Sports and Social Club in Wheatley.

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The celebration will include musical entertainment, a buffet, games, and even a raffle.

The party in Doncaster will welcome 150 older guests.The party in Doncaster will welcome 150 older guests.
The party in Doncaster will welcome 150 older guests.

Sara Kopecsni, b:friend Communications Officer, said: “This is the first time we have organised a Christmas party on such a large scale, although, we had a very successful Coronation Celebration in Conisborough in May, with similar numbers.

"After that, there was no question that we had to make this party happen, as we had such overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees.

“The holidays can be extremely difficult for many older adults who have no family or friends to spend it with. Furthermore, a lot of our older neighbours said they dont go out around Christmas time as places are too busy and the meals are very expensive.

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“At b:friend, we are all about bringing people in the community together, and we are delighted to be able to give people the chance to share a meal, a dance and some laughter with friends, without worrying about the costs.

“We’re so grateful to our funders such as the Gripple Foundation and The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire, whose support made this Christmas Party possible.”

B:friend currently supports around 1,000 older adults through 1:1 befriending and social clubs.

Their befriender volunteers visit isolated older neighbours weekly for an hour for a chat and a cuppa.

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The charity also has a total of 11 social Ccubs across Doncaster, Barnsley, Rotherham, Sheffield and Chesterfield.

The social clubs have a different activity every week to boost meaningful community connections and well-being, from dancing and making mocktails to mindful crafts and creative writing.

Terry, who attends one of b:friend’s Social Clubs, said: “My doctor told me to come to the club because I was in a bad way after my wife died, and the counselling didn’t help. And do you know, it’s the best thing I could have done. I really enjoy it.”