A school in Weardale has opened its doors for older people to enjoy a festive meal as part of its Christmas celebrations.
The nutritional, hot Christmas dinner was served to more than 60 local people by students and staff at Wolsingham School. The event was also an important social gathering for residents from surrounding towns and villages including Stanhope and Frosterley.
The annual meal has been supported by believe housing’s community funding programme. The dinner was prepared and served on-site by the school’s own catering team with assistance from staff and pupils. Serving and the post event clear up was carried out by the students, who also provided entertainment for their guests.
Free transport to the dinner was provided using the school’s minibus, helping many people who would otherwise not be able to attend.
Funding Officer from believe housing, Damian Pearson, said: “This project is a really special one that shows just how strong communities in this part of Weardale are. The genuine warmth between the generations has to be seen to be believed.
“The social value of this Christmas meal shouldn’t be underestimated. It helps to tackle isolation and loneliness at a very important time of the year.
“Grass roots community projects like this are exactly the reason that our community funding programme exists. A relatively small contribution of £500 has brought a healthy meal, and a smile, to dozens of people.”
Jonathan Ferstenberg, headteacher of Wolsingham School, said: “Christmas is a time for sharing, and it’s wonderful to be able to share this heart-warming event with local people.
“It is an honour for our staff and students to be able to serve people who have spent their lives giving so much to the school and the community.
“We are deeply grateful to believe housing for their continued support in ensuring we can host this event, which brings the community together over the Christmas period.”
Cllr Anita Savory said: “The Senior Citizens from our community look forward to this event, it is a wonderful social get together for many who are alone at Christmas. The staff and students promote the ethos of the school by care and support to others. Once again the evening was a huge success sincere thanks to Believe Housing for supporting the project.”
Any community organisation, non-profit making group, charity or school is eligible to apply for funding from believe housing’s community grant programme. The application process has been kept deliberately simple and funding decisions are made monthly to ensure groups are not waiting for lengthy periods to find out if they have been successful.