Waitrose has launched a new initiative to help support elderly, homeless and vulnerable people this Christmas.
The grocery chain will help provide Christmas lunch events across the country for people who would otherwise be on their own on Christmas Day.
More than three quarters of a million Brits over 65 say they always or often feel lonely, according to a survey by Age UK.
The drive will see every Waitrose shop supporting community Christmas lunch events by offering food, money and other resources; hundreds of volunteering hours being offered for Waitrose staff to help plan events (while being fully paid by Waitrose; and Waitrose asking customers through customer publications to think of people in their community who might be lonely this Christmas and make small actions that might make a big difference.
Each of the retailer’s 298 branches has an allocation of money and volunteering time to put towards community Christmas dinner events. Waitrose is asking groups to apply for this support if they are already – or thinking of – organising such a lunch.
Waitrose community manager Tina Varns said: “As a food business we’re acutely aware of how important Christmas is to so many people. But for many, it can be the most lonely time of the year.
“This new Isolation Campaign will complement the great work our shops are already doing in their local communities [through the ‘green tokens’ Community Matters initiative] and we’re excited about the difference it will make to so many people.”