Hebburn pupils are serving up Christmas joy by inviting older people to join them for a special meal.
Staff and students at Hebburn Comprehensive School have sent out invitations to people living in the town’s sheltered housing. They’ll head to the school, in Campbell Park Road, on Tuesday for an afternoon of festive entertainment and a two-course Christmas dinner.
Teacher Angeline Phillips said: “We’ve been doing this for a few years now after a former colleague of mine started it. Her mam was in a care home and she thought it would be a nice thing for the school to do and we’ve continued it.
“The peer mentors and mentees did a bag pack in Morrisons, in Jarrow, to raise the money and the Year 11s host the event, so the whole school is involved.
“The event starts with a performance from the school choir, then there’s a two-course meal with wine and coffee, a performance from magician Paul Malcolm, bingo, a singalong and a raffle.
“It’s always a lot of fun and we even get people starting to ring up from the care homes in September asking when it’s going to be that year.”
It’s a lovely celebration for our senior citizens and it gives them a bit more confidence when they’re out and about because our pupils will see them in the street and say hello.Angeline Phillips, Hebburn Comprehensive School
The festive event promotes inter-generational links in the town and ensures that even those without families have a big Christmas celebration to look forward to.
Mrs Phillips added: “The older people we invite always have a great time and the kids love it too. They always dress up as elves and get really into it. We’re never short of volunteers to help out on the day.
“It’s a lovely celebration for our senior citizens and it gives them a bit more confidence when they’re out and about because our pupils will see them in the street and say hello.
“The deputy mayor and mayoress will be paying a visit on the day as well to make it extra special for them.”
Funding for charity to provide festive meal for the lonely and vulnerable
People looking for company on Christmas Day can enjoy a festive dinner with all the trimmings thanks to funding from South Tyneside Council.
Churches Together in South Tyneside has been providing hot meals on Christmas Day to people who are alone during the seasonal celebrations over the past 10 years.
This year the charity has again received support from South Tyneside Council to meet the cost of the event.
All five of South Tyneside’s Community Area Forums have dug deep to donate £500 to help the charity provide meals for lonely and vulnerable people from across the borough.
The funding will help buy fresh food for the Christmas dinner, refreshments and festive decorations including tablecloths and crackers.
The charity is also asking local schools and businesses to donate items of clothing and accessories including socks, hats, scarfs and gloves to be given as gifts to those in need.
Coun Mary Butler, lead member for adult social care and support services, said: “No one should be alone at Christmas which is why it is so important for us to support this event. The festive season is a special time of year but we recognise that for many across the borough, it can be a lonely time.
“It is wonderful that local people have somewhere to go on Christmas Day where they can socialise and have some company. We are delighted to be able to support such a worthy cause which is doing some fantastic work in the local community.”
Churches Together in South Tyneside will be providing hot meals, and company to those in need at St Michael’s Church Hall, in South Shields, on Christmas Day, from noon until 5pm.
For more information, contact Bernadette Askins on 0191 536 7627.