The Alnwick Garden combats Christmas loneliness at Elderberries' party

Sir John Hall dances with a guest at the Elderberries Christmas event.
Sir John Hall dances with a guest at the Elderberries Christmas event.

The Alnwick Garden Trust welcomed 100 of Northumberland’s older residents to its annual Christmas extravaganza this week in a bid to combat loneliness and isolation this Christmas.

A part of their charitable Elderberries programme, the free party treated guests to a traditional festive lunch, live performances from children of the Holley Park Academy Choir and North East Soprano Samantha Holden.

Established three years ago, the Elderberries programme aims to address loneliness, isolation and financial hardship amongst older people in Northumberland and delivers events and services that provide participants with the opportunity to socialise and promotes a healthy fulfilled quality of life.

Natasha Addis, head of charity programmes at The Alnwick Garden Trust, said: “It is estimated nearly half-a-million older people will spend Christmas alone and many go days or even weeks without speaking to another person.

“Elderberries is working to address that isolation, and activities such as our horticultural and health projects and regular lunches provide individuals with opportunities to socialise and create friendships, which has had an extremely positive impact on their wellbeing.”

Also attending the event was Sir John Hall, supporter of the Elderberries Programme, who said: “What we have to do is help each other and such isolation among older people shouldn’t be. By getting everyone together, young and old, I’m pleased to see everyone having so much fun and these issues being addressed.”

The project and its activities is open to all of those over the age of 55 and information about how to get involved can be found at