‘Jingle and Mingle’ Christmas lunch feels the snowball effect

Arrangements are gathering apace for the Christmas lunch for socially isolated older people on Wednesday 18th December that is being organised by Age UK IW and Rouse Limited. Offers of help have been pouring in from individuals, community groups and businesses.

Organiser, Alex Pugh of Rouse Limited said: ‘We have been overwhelmed by people’s generosity with donations of time, resource and money and we have only got this far with their help. We are so grateful to everyone who has come forward.’

Following the initial publicity of the event, further help has been given or pledged from:

  • Proper Vintage IOW, event planners and prop hire specialists, who said: ‘As a local family business we are very pleased to support such a wonderful event.’
  • Island charity Independent Arts and their SingAbout group
  • Grace’s Bakery: an Island-based, independent family run bakery established, in 1997
  • Asda
  • DC Derata Property: London-based property agency
  • Orchard House: Care Centre in Newport. Gaynor Rhead, General Manager, said: ‘Loneliness can be a big problem for elderly people, especially as the weather gets colder. Our doors are always open to new friends of the home.’

Statistics provided by Age UK IW:

  • One in six Islanders over 65 years live alone – that’s 6000 people.
  • Research shows that loneliness can be as harmful for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
  • Nearly 1 million older people in the UK saying that they feel loneliest at Christmas and have only the TV for company.

Help for the Christmas lunch, whether financial or action-based, already pledged includes: Barton Manor, Waitrose East Cowes, the Gurnard Knit and Natter group, The Isle of Wight College catering and hospitality students, Queensgate Primary School, Cowes Enterprise College’s ukulele band, and a generous anonymous individual.

This year, the event is focused on the Newport and East Cowes areas, however, it is hoped that with the continuing support of the community it will be possible to roll it out so that eventually there is a Christmas lunch like this in other areas on the Island.

Can you offer any support for this event or future events? Please contact community@rouseltd.co.uk or call Age UK IW on 01983 525282.


This winter, Orchard House will once again be welcoming socially isolated older people with its ‘Don’t Dine Alone’ initiative.
Older persons who might usually eat alone are invited to join the residents and team at the home, Monday to Friday 12pm-2pm, from November to February for a 3 course meal accompanied by a wide selection of beverages. The home’s Head Chef will be producing a range of dishes to cover varied individual dietary needs and preferences.

Guests will have a chance to chat to the home’s staff and residents during their meal and afterwards will be able to spend time with everyone while enjoying homemade cakes and fresh coffee in the café area.

Orchard House Care Centre is run by Barchester Healthcare, one of the UK’s largest care providers. The ‘Don’t Dine Alone’ initiative was launched as a way to reach out to isolated or vulnerable members of their local communities.

For more information please contact Gaynor Rhead, General Manager at Orchard House Care Centre on 01983 520022 or Gaynor.rhead@barchester.com