Waitrose offers festive help for lonely

Waitrose in Rushden is launching a campaign to make sure people aren't lonely this Christmas
Waitrose in Rushden is launching a campaign to make sure people aren't lonely this Christmas

A supermarket in Rushden is launching a campaign to make sure people aren’t lonely on Christmas Day.

Waitrose has started an Isolation Campaign to help support elderly, homeless and vulnerable people this Christmas.

The store, part of the John Lewis group, will help provide Christmas lunch events in the area for people who would otherwise be on their own on December 25.

Waitrose is asking local groups who organise, or are thinking of organising, a Christmas Day event for the old and vulnerable to apply for help.

The shop will offer food, money and other resources as appropriate, with staff being paid to take time off to help plan events.

Each of the retailer’s nearly 300 shops has an allocation of money and volunteering time to put towards community Christmas dinner events.

Mandy Keyes, the marketing and community co-ordinator for Waitrose’s Rushden store, said: “Each Waitrose has £1,500 to donate. We have had an application from four local groups who have decided to join together and act under one umbrella. They are the night shelter in Rushden, St Jude’s in Kettering, the food bank in Corby and the Daylight Centre in Wellingborough. They will share the money and use it to provide a small gift, a Christmas dinner and entertainment on December 25.

“Each group expects to feed 30 to 40 people on Christmas Day and our help can make it a little bit more special. Volunteers from the store will help to wrap the presents and do some food preparation beforehand as well.”

The store will also be holding a special event on the weekend of December 14 and 15 when the four groups will set up stalls in the store and ask people to donate goods they have bought in the store from a shopping list each charity has drawn up. A similar event last year helped the night shelter, the Daylight Centre and animal charity Nanna raise between £2,000 and £2,500 in food and donations.

Waitrose community manager Tina Varns said: “As a food business we’re acutely aware of how important Christmas is to so many people. But for many it can be the most lonely time of the year. This new Isolation Campaign will complement the great work our shops are already doing in their local communities – and we’re excited about the difference it will make to so many people.”

The deadline for applications for help is Friday, November 15, and forms are available in store.