A local filmmaker, who produces music videos, will host a Christmas Day lunch in Stoke Newington for older people who would otherwise be alone during the festivities.
The event organised by Chris Murdoch will take place at his local church, Saint Mary’s Church and will comprise of a three-course Christmas lunch and activities such as bingo, quizzes and music. Swing dancers from Dalston’s dance school Swing Patrol will come to give a demonstration to the over 60-year-old guests.
Murdoch, 32, from Seven Sisters, decided to host the initiative to bring people together. He said: “Christmas should be a time of kindness, generosity and community. No one should be alone unless they want to.
There’s a bit of a stigma surrounding loneliness and I feel like people often have too much pride to ask for help, which is why we’ve actively contacted local community groups and put posters up around the area so people feel welcome.”
This is the first time that Murdoch hosts such an event but he has been familiar with the world of voluntary work for quite some time.
He said: “This is my first time hosting the event but I volunteered last year at a Christmas Day lunch event and I have also been volunteering at Great Ormond Street Hospital at their weekend club since April.”
The initiative has received wide-spread support from local businesses and residents alike: Stamford Hill’s Sainsbury’s donated gift cards to buy food, MEAT N16 will provide a turkey while Spence Bakery will give mince pies to the guests. Murdoch has also received more than 40 applications to volunteer at the event.
Murdoch received help also from the parish of Saint Mary’s Church, as it helped to promote the event to the people coming to church.
As a result of the buzz created around the event, more people got involved. Murdoch said: “Some people have got in touch on behalf of neighbours or friends who would be spending Christmas alone.”
After “an overwhelming response from local people”, Murdoch hopes to do more events like this one.
He said: “I am hoping to organise more community events in 2019, aimed at the over 60s but bringing together people of all ages and backgrounds.”
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