Last Christmas, we invited more than 170 people out for Christmas lunch who would have otherwise spent the day alone.
But with 10 different venues across the Bristol region and 140+ volunteers driving guests back and forth, it’s a big job to organise! Thankfully, we have two lead volunteers at every venue – they’re the real stars of the show, giving up their time in the busy run-up to Christmas to help make sure everything runs smoothly.
Fiona and Marie met last year at a volunteer get-together and when Marie discovered that this was to be Fiona’s first year as a lead volunteer, she kindly offered to walk her through it and share some of the expert advice she’s gained after volunteering with Marmalade Trust for years. Since then, they have become good friends.
As well as making new friends, Fiona enjoyed meeting all of the guests on Christmas Day.
“The real pleasure of volunteering is giving the guests pleasure and making sure they’re having a great time. It’s a fantastic thing to do if you like helping others, and it really highlighted just how many older people struggle with isolation and loneliness. It was powerful to see the huge impact going out for Christmas lunch made on the guests. So many people just don’t have connections, through no fault of their own. We live in disconnected communities these days where people don’t seem to look out for each other as much as they used to.”
“In the run-up to Christmas, there are ads everywhere you go, and every single one has such emphasis on groups getting together, families and friends in front of a huge spread. It can be so painful for those who are alone at Christmas, as well as those who have families, but are unable to get together.”
Fiona spoke with each of the guests at her venue before Christmas, and each one mentioned how excited they were and how much they were looking forward to it.
“I could tell how much the day meant to them and made me think thank Goodness for such as Marmalade Trust!”
Interested in volunteering? We’re hoping to be able to host more guests next Christmas, which means we’ll need even more wonderful volunteers to help everything run smoothly. Whether you’re interested in driving a guest, being a smiley host at an event, or even helping to organise a venue, we’d love to hear from you. Just complete our volunteering form. Thank you!