Council tackles loneliness this Christmas

Mayor Biggs with tea dance guests 11

Mayor John Biggs with guests at this year's tea dance

  • Appeal to identify isolated elderly people
  • LinkAge Plus service celebrates ten years

Older residents facing the prospect of spending the festive season on their own are being offered a chance to get together for a meal and social activity with others in the community this Christmas.

Tower Hamlets Council, alongside voluntary, health and community organisations are hosting Christmas and New Year celebrations and events for older residents.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamletssaid: “Tackling loneliness is a key priority for us. Our LinkAge Plus centres are just one example of the steps we are taking to reduce the risk of social isolation amongst older residents. The centres and the activities they offer all year round contribute to better physical and mental health amongst those who may be isolated often because of reduced mobility, bereavement or not having family close by.”

In addition to the festive events, Neighbours in Poplar, a LinkAge Plus centre will deliver hundreds of free, freshly cooked meals to isolated residents on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

On Christmas morning, when many are unwrapping their presents, volunteers will arrive at Neighbours in Poplar to prepare and cook lunch, which will be delivered by an army of volunteer drivers.

Sister Christine Frost, Manager, Neighbours in Poplar said: “We ask local people to let us know if someone living near them is vulnerable and likely to spend Christmas at home alone. Last year, we delivered more than 400 meals over the three bank holidays. 

“Some of our volunteers have helped out year after year and some turn up with their families. We keep an eye out for anyone who may be vulnerable or isolated and we continue to check on them throughout the festive season.” 

LinkAge Plus festivities follow this year’s annual Christmas Tea Dance, which saw more than 150 guests enjoy free live music, food and drink at the Arts Pavilion, Mile End Park. 

The annual event, hosted by the council and funded through the One Tower Hamlets equalities programme, aims to combat loneliness amongst the older community in Tower Hamlets. 

Councillor Denise Jones, Older People’s Champion and Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing said: “We want to ensure that Tower Hamlets is a borough where as people grow older, they retain social connections, independence and dignity.  As Christmas and New Year festivities continue, I encourage residents to look out for those who may be isolated and invite them to join in local festivities.”

If you have concerns about an elderly isolated person in the Poplar and Isle of Dogs area, contact Neighbours in Poplar on 020 7987 0257 or email 

Posted on Tuesday 18th December 2018