Christmas companionship - plus alpacas - on offer at Abbeyfield home in Bamburgh

Christmas is a time for family, friends and fantastic food – but for more than 500,000 older people the celebrations will be marked by grief, isolation and loneliness.

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 1:56 pm
Updated Sunday, 15th December 2019, 4:32 pm
Festive alpacas at Armstrong House in Bamburgh with house manager Paula Lingwood with residents and staff at the Abbeyfield house.

But thanks to a festive campaign tackling loneliness during the season of goodwill and beyond, older people could find themselves waking up on Christmas morning to feed alpacas, enjoying Yuletide-themed entertainment, or sitting down to turkey with all the trimmings in the company of others.

These are just some of the many opportunities that older people affected by loneliness can look forward to with The Abbeyfield Society’s annual Companionship at Christmas campaign.

The national initiative offering emotional and spiritual warmth and friendship, will see many of Abbeyfield’s 500 homes and houses throwing open their doors to provide free overnight stays, meals and seasonal activities to vulnerable and isolated people aged 55 and over, who would otherwise be on their own during Christmas and New Year.

Among the more unusual options on offer is the chance to book into Abbeyfield’s Armstrong House in Bamburgh to enjoy the festivities in the company of both the home’s two and four-legged occupants.

Alpaca twins John and David have also moved into the supported housing facility, where they roam the grounds and have become a much-loved focal point for residents and visitors alike.

It will be their first Christmas at Armstrong House, where they will be bringing a touch of animal magic to proceedings and helping turn what can be a cheerless period of the year into a time to remember for those affected by loneliness.

This is the 10th time national older people’s housing and care charity, The Abbeyfield Society, has run its Companionship at Christmas campaign.

Singer, presenter and Abbeyfield patron, Aled Jones, said: "Companionship at Christmas is a chance for older people in Abbeyfield homes and the wider community to come together to enjoy the season of goodwill in warmth and laughter and to hopefully forge friendships that will last beyond the festive period.”

To find out more please contact Abbeyfield on 01727 734144.