Bringing joy and companionship to people who would otherwise be alone on Christmas Day.
Christmas time usually conjures up joyful images of family and friends celebrating, exchanging gifts, excited chatter and delicious food. For some people, however, it can be a dreaded, sad and lonely time.
Marmalade Trust understands how difficult Christmas can be for someone who is struggling with loneliness. We don’t want anyone to spend Christmas Day alone if they don’t want to so we invite them to join us for a free festive lunch. A typical member is someone who is vulnerable to loneliness, for example, a person of an older age who may have few or no family or friends around.
Everyone who joins us is made to feel part of our Marmalade family and is supported by our network of friendly volunteers. We currently hold our lunches in pubs or restaurants throughout Bristol, South Gloucestershire and the North Somerset region.
How it works
Each Marmalade member is matched to one of our trained volunteers, who will call a few times on the run-up to Christmas so they can get to know each other; this is especially important for members who may feel a little anxious about coming along. It’s a nice opportunity to share the excitement of the day too!
On Christmas Day itself, each member is collected from their home by their volunteer and driven to one of our lunch venues. We match them with a venue that is most local to them.
On arrival, they are warmly welcomed and introduced to our fellow members. Everyone sits together and enjoys a leisurely three-course meal, sharing stories and making friends. At the end of the meal, every member is presented with a hamper to unwrap, which for many is often their only gift. Our volunteers then return each member safely home again.
Those alone at Christmas tend to be the loneliest in society. Whilst loneliness isn’t just experienced at Christmas it’s an opportunity for us to identify those who are most isolated and to offer further support throughout the year.
A community effort
Our lunches wouldn’t be possible without the network of people who rally around to support us, be it community organisations who refer people who are isolated, volunteers who help run the lunches or drive our members, the venues who host us, or people/companies who raise vital funds so we can continue to provide the lunches for free.
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are planning an alternative to our normal Christmas Cheer events. Make sure you're following us on social media - that way you'll be the first to know our plans. Thank you!
AS FEATURED IN
What our members say...
“I don’t have anyone around, so without Marmalade, I’d be spending Christmas Day alone. Last year, I met so many wonderful people, I was smiling for days afterwards. It cheers me up just thinking of it!”