In the UK alone, it’s estimated that approximately 9 million people are affected by loneliness.
We know that for many people, the festive period can be an incredibly difficult time, because of the emphasis on time spent with family and friends, and celebrating with gift-giving and food.
This is not everyone’s reality. Loneliness and social isolation can occur for many reasons, such as experiencing the loss of a loved one, moving to a new area, or owing to financial circumstances.
We also know that communities coming together can help to overcome this, with 71% of participants in The Great Get Together this summer reporting that they felt less lonely after attending an event.
We want to help even more people overcome loneliness, and we need your help to do it!
To help kickstart your planning, we’ve put together a list of ideas of how you can get involved in the Great Get Together this festive season.
1. Mince Pie Moments
Have yourself a merry little Mince Pie Moment this Christmas by knocking on a neighbour’s door with a festive treat and saying hello.
You could even try baking your own by downloading this recipe Delia Smith shared with us!
Don’t forget to use the hashtag #mincepiemoments to share your stories and pictures with us.
If you haven’t got time to organise your own event, head to a COOK store near you on Saturday 7th December. COOK will be holding their own Great Get Togethers at all of their stores nationwide and you are invited to join them for a community celebration with free mince pies and mulled wine!
3. Ramblers Festival of Winter Walks
If you want to feel happier and healthier this festive season, head out walking with the Ramblers.
The Festival of Winter Walks will return again this year from 20th December 2019 to 5th January 2020. You’ll have the chance to join hundreds of free festive walks to enjoy outdoor landscapes in good company, and everyone’s welcome.
4. Host a Festive Feast
What better way to bring together your local community than with a festive feast? Be it a traditional Christmas dinner, doughnuts and latkes for Hanukkah, or whatever takes your fancy – get a group together and get celebrating!
Remember to reach out to people who might be feeling lonely, be it an elderly neighbour on your street or a new family of refugees in the area, using our invitations.
5. Carol singing
Not everyone is able to leave their house easily, so why not take the festive cheer directly to them?
Get a group together and go carol singing!
6. Community Christmas
If you don’t have time to organise an event, take a look at Reengage’s Community Christmas campaign. This brilliant campaign is focused on supporting elderly people at Christmas.
Whatever your age, you can find an event to join in with using their helpful map.
Extend the festive goodwill and give your time by volunteering with organisations that bring people together. Thousands of different organisations would appreciate any time that you can give, including food banks or homeless shelters.
Another great example is Abbeyfield, a charity for older people providing housing across the UK who are committed to building a strong sense of community.
Find out more about how to get involved here.
8. Get Together at work!
You could also get your colleagues together at a workplace Great Get Together! It’s a brilliant opportunity to get to know people you might not normally interact with and create a stronger sense of community at work.
Don’t forget to download posters, invitations and activities here.
Bonus: Join the Women’s Institute
We are delighted that the Women’s Institute (WI) is getting involved with The Great Get Together.
The WI offers women a chance to connect with their local community in a friendly and inclusive space. To find the WIs nearest to you, please use the postcode search tool or contact the federation office.
Help us get even more people involved with The Great Get Together by letting people know you’re taking part.
Download your pack
Get our event planning toolkit along with posters invitations and activities to help plan and organiser your Get Together.