In 2007 Caroline was asked if she would drive a group of old ladies in the local Handybus to a lunch on Christmas Day. She agreed, little knowing that this would be a journey that would change her life.
As she drove the ladies home after their Christmas lunch certain aspects of their conversation struck her:
- What a fantastic day they had had
- How she wished she could have been part of/contributed to it
- How happy they all were to have met each other so that they could meet and have a cup of tea at anytime during the year.
The following year Caroline volunteered for the whole of Christmas Day and subsequently took part in organising the local lunch before deciding that she wanted to do more. Community Christmas was born in 2011 since when it has grown so that in 2018 a total of 650 opportunities for companionship were listed on the website with another 102 not making their details public.
Community Christmas has the vision that no older person in the UK should be alone on Christmas Day unless they want to be. Christmas Day can act as a catalyst for change for the longer term. People of all ages become part of their community and find out about year round local services that bring long lasting improvements to social, emotional and physical well-being. From 1 April 2019 the operations transferred to Contact the Elderly – an organisation providing year round companionship that Caroline believes have the ability to grow the Community Christmas initiative to its full potential.