Age UK North Yorkshire & Darlington
HomeNewsCampaign launched to help lonely at Christmas

Campaign launched to help lonely at Christmas

Posted on Tuesday, 8 December 2020 10:38 am | Category: Campaigns

A leading local charity has issued a stark warning about the loneliness many older people are facing this Christmas.

Age UK North Yorkshire & Darlington says more than half the older population are concerned they won’t see friends and family this Christmas

Their ‘No one should have no one’ campaign calls for vital donations so it can be there for those who have no one to turn to.

The charity says local communities in and around Darlington, Northallerton, Richmond and Skipton, have really stepped up to support older people through the pandemic, but it warns it is facing extraordinary challenges to continue to deliver much needed frontline services to older people who are especially vulnerable.

The charity, which stretches from Darlington across North Yorkshire, has found new ways of engaging with older people to try to alleviate loneliness, and has introduced a telephone befriending service.

Their Befriending Coordinator for Darlington, Sharon Vasey said that contact was vital for many older people living alone.

“We also run a project, in the Darlington area, to support carers. Normally a trained befriender would spend time with a person being cared for to allow the carer a desperately needed break. Due to the current pandemic we now match people with one of our telephone befrienders who will make a weekly call to either the carer or the person being cared for, whichever is most appropriate.

“The call can be some much needed social contact, a listening ear or an opportunity to take your mind away from your caring role, even for just a short period of time,” she said.







At the beginning of November, 6.1 million people aged 60 and over said that they were feeling lonely, according to research.

With a second national lockdown in England in place and the future uncertain, around 7.7 million people aged 65 and over – more than half of the UK’s older population – are concerned that COVID-19 restrictions might mean that they cannot see family or friends this Christmas, potentially making this festive period the loneliest and scariest ever experienced for many older people.

Chief Executive of Age UK North Yorkshire & Darlington Helen Hunter said: “Winter is always a tough time for older people - dark nights, short days and cold, often wet weather make it harder to get outside. These challenges combined with pandemic restrictions mean that chance encounters - like catching up with neighbours on the street or friendly chats at the supermarket - are less likely right now, yet they can make a big difference to those who are almost always on their own, or feeling lonely.

“We want people to know that your local Age UK is here for you, and it’s so true that no one should have no one.”

For many older people, Age UK will be a lifeline this Christmas. The charity is calling for donations and volunteers to help fund its friendship and advice services, demand for which has soared since the coronavirus outbreak began in March.

Nationally, Age UK’s new figures show that one in five older people have had someone help them by collecting their prescriptions or medicine during the pandemic and a third of older people have had someone help them by shopping for essentials.
The charity says there are lots of simple things everyone can do to help:

• Keep in touch: Try to check in regularly with your older relatives, friends and neighbours to ask how they’re feeling, and find out if there’s anything they need. If you’re unable to visit in person there’s still plenty you can do to show you care – a phone or video call, try making homemade Christmas cards, letters or even small gifts.

• Lend a hand: if you’re able to, be a good neighbour by offering simple, immediate assistance to older people nearby, such as offering to pick up shopping or run errands.

The local charity also offers a huge range range of services such as Information & Advice, including help with accessing services and benefits, a Home Care Support Service, Free Home Energy Check or you could take advantage of a nutritious 2 course lunch, delivered hot to your door, at a cost of £6.50, to enable you to stay healthy.

  • To find out more about any of our services call 0300 30 20 100 or email


  • Anyone who needs support can get in touch by calling the national Age UK Advice line free of charge on 0800 169 6565 (8am-7pm) or visit Any older person looking for a cheerful chat can call The Silver Line’s free helpline, day or night, on 0800 470 80 90


Where to find us
Find your local Age UK
Subscribe to our newsletter
Connect with us
Age UK Darlington is a registered charity (Registered Charity No. 1128377) registered in England and Wales as a Limited Company no. 6817492). Registered address: Bradbury House, Beaumont Street West, Darlington, County Durham, DL1 5SX.

Feedback & Complaints / Privacy Policy

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our websitePrivacy Policy (Updated 24/05/2018)