Older people in Essex are receiving donations of food and gifts to celebrate Christmas with this year. The deliveries are being carried out by Independent Age, a charity that provides advice and support for older people.

Across Essex, 50 older people will receive parcels containing Winter Warmer packs and shoe boxes, as well as Christmas puddings and chocolate donated by local Tesco and Waitrose branches. The Shoebox Appeal in Colchester donated 15 shoeboxes filled with donations that accompanied these parcels and the Winter Warmer packs were provided by partner organisation, Community 360.

Kate from Independent Age writing Christmas cards for older people in Essex

Kate from Independent Age writing Christmas cards for older people in Essex

Brenda, 86, who received a Christmas delivery from Independent Age said: “What a lovely surprise it was to receive such lovely gifts. Thank you so much for coming to bring me a Christmas card and gift! I have a volunteer visitor who has been visiting me for over four years now, she is so kind and is now like a daughter to me.”

Brenda receiving her parcel from Independent Age

Brenda receiving her parcel from Independent Age

Julie Bennett, Community Services Manager for Essex at Independent Age said: “We are delighted to be able to bring people like Brenda some joy this Christmas after a difficult year. Thank you to our staff, volunteers and to those who donated – these deliveries would not be possible without them.”

The pandemic has had a severe impact on older people’s mental and physical health. Shielding, loss of any exercise routine, loss of normal contact with friends, and difficulties contacting health professionals have placed increased strain on the mental health of many older people in the past 18 months.

A recent report by Independent Age and the Mental Health Foundation is calling for more support for older adults’ mental health, as the pandemic continues. These parcels and visits by volunteers help to reconnect lonely and isolated older people.

Volunteers and Independent Age staff with the Christmas parcels

Independent Age staff with the Christmas parcels

Notes to Editors:

On Monday 13th December, Independent Age and The Mental Health Foundation published The Mental Health Experiences of Older People During the Pandemic report, in which the two charities call for more support for older adults’ mental health, as the pandemic continues.

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