Southampton school children spread Christmas cheer to help isolated elderly people

  • ITV News Meridian's Christine Alsford went along to meet the pupils putting a festive smile on some of their elderly friends

School children in Southampton treated their weekly friendship club to some carols in a bid to spread some Christmas cheer, ahead of what can be one of the loneliest times of the year.

Pupils of St Patrick's Roman Catholic Primary School regularly meet their friends who are several decades older than them.

For the elderly people at the weekly club, run by Communicare, it is a chance to get out and forge links across the generations.

The children meet with the club every week and forge genuine connections in a bid to help each other feel less isolated. Credit: ITV Meridian

More than two million elderly people live alone in the UK - and a recent survey found three in ten now see less of friends and family due to the financial pressures of the cost of living.

Chris says she enjoys attending because she lives on her own, saying: "I'm visually impaired too... just to hear the noise of people is lovely. "

Similarly, Joyce told us "To start with, I didn't know how I was going to fit in but it's lovely - you come here and meet all sorts of people."

Its organisers say an increased cost of living is having a huge impact on some of the elderly and vulnerable."They're having to think much more carefully about what every penny is being spent on," said manager Annie Cleulow.

"Often their social life can be the thing that goes first and yet that is really important to us all. Here, no one needs to worry about what they'll have to pay."

Father Ross Bullock from the local church said because everything they offer is free they have less to worry about it.

He said: "It is important, particularly during this cost of living crisis."

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