Asda’s Barrow-in-Furness store invited 75 elderly residents from local care homes in for a special Christmas event – including the chance to shop for gifts with the help of local schoolchildren. The event, arranged by the store’s Community Champion Gill Gerrish, is a chance for the senior citizens to buy gifts and cards for carers or family members and decorations for their rooms, as well as getting together to enjoy Christmas treats in the Asda cafe.
One of the residents who came along was 81-year-old Douglas Scrogham, who said, “I’ve been really looking forward to this – it’s all about the community coming together.”
Martha Tickle from Furness Academy helped several of the guests, said: “A lot of older people don’t get the chance to get out at Christmas and spend time with other people, so it’s lovely to be a part of something like this. We got to know each other quite well – it’s a chance to get to know people you wouldn’t otherwise have met.”
While one group of residents was shopping another was being entertained in the cafe by a choir of pupils from Ormsgill Primary and Nursery School singing Christmas carols. The Furness Lions work with Gill to organise the annual event and pay for taxis and minibuses to pick up the guests from their care homes and sheltered accommodation and take them home again.
A grant from the Asda Foundation funded the buffet, decorations for the cafe and a present from Santa for each of the guests.
The event was a big hit with shoppers like Josephine Pidduck, 82, who was attending it for the first time. Her purchases included two T-shirts for herself from George and mince pies to share with other residents.
And Tracie Smith from Furness Academy said: “I’m hoping that over the years this event has broken down barriers between younger and older members of the community. “A lot of the children say they didn’t realise people in the community were lonely and say what they have to say is interesting. It gives the elderly people a chance to have a chat with younger members of the community too.”