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Project information

Companionship at Christmas (COPE)

This project will help alleviate loneliness at Christmas by inviting older people to come to Abbeyfield houses across the UK for meals, activities, and overnight stays. It will give lonely older people a safe and welcoming place to go to enjoy good food, friendship and vital company.

November 2016 - January 2017

Charity information: Abbeyfield

Abbeyfield logo
  • Need


    More and more older people are living alone, and many have no family living nearby. The crippling loneliness experienced by our ageing population is heightened over the Christmas period. Many older people feel unable to go outside for fear of slipping or due to ill health or disability. And reduced public transport over Christmas adds to their isolation. No older person should spend the festive season alone with only the TV for company, not eating properly and feeling uncared for.


    Abbeyfield will open the doors of its 120+ managed homes across the UK from the end of November through to mid January, offering companionship, meals, activities and even overnight stays to older people from their local community. We will provide entertainment, food, even a small present, and pay for taxis to enable older people to access our houses throughout this crucial time of year. Our support, friendship and good food mean that older people can enjoy a fulfilling and happy later life.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To provide activities at each of our directly managed houses across the UK.


    » Provide home cooked lunches (including Christmas dinner and Boxing Dinner) at selected houses.
    » Provide entertainment - singing, visiting choirs, quizzes etc.
    » Where possible take residents and visitors out to local theatres/clubs for festive entertainment.

    What success will look like

    Evaluate numbers of activities undertaken, numbers of older people participating and gain case studies from those coming to Abbeyfield for COPE.

    Aim 2

    To help lonely older people from the local community to get to Abbeyfield safely.


    » Through donations, pay for taxis to pick up people and drop them safely at their local Abbeyfield, and take them home again.

    What success will look like

    Record number of taxi rides booked over the campaign.

    Aim 3

    Encourage ongoing participation and engagement after the end of the project.


    » Keep in touch with the older people who have visited over Christmas to invite them in for Sharing Sundays lunches and activities throughout the year.
    » Recruit volunteer co-ordinators to keep in touch with those who came over Christmas and to encourage more older people to join in.

    What success will look like

    Track number of volunteer co-ordinators recruited; number of older people engaged with throughout the year; get quotes from participants and difference it's made to their lives.

  • Impact


    Fewer older people spending Christmas alone. Increased well being, both physical and mental. More awareness of what Abbeyfield can offer and how we can help. Older people will know there's someone they can turn to.
    Demonstrate the benefits by tracking the number of people coming through our doors during the campaign and those staying on as permanent residents.


    Change of staff at house level or lack of volunteers to help at events; may be difficult to reach those who need our support most.
    Ensure all new staff are aware of the campaign when recruited; increase volunteering promotion from September onwards; increase marketing and awareness locally - through churches, community groups, surgeries, AgeUK centres, local radio and print media.


    We will evaluate the project in February 2017 with numbers of older people participating; funds raised and how funds raised per house/activity.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £10,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £1,000 Taxi rides 30 taxi rides booked
      £5,000 Christmas meals provide 200 Christmas meals with all the trimmings
      £3,000 Christmas hampers provide hampers to all residents across Cornwall
      £1,000 activities and entertainments paying for local entertainers at 20 houses

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Tanner Trust £3,000 Conditional
  • Background


    Our project will run at Abbeyfield houses across England - in cities including London, Sheffield, Canterbury and Ipswich as well as in rural areas such as Cockermouth, Beaminster, Wendover and Budleigh Salterton.


    An older person who may be alone over the festive season. These may include widowed people; disabled people; those without any family or family living abroad or far away. Any isolated older person is encouraged to come to Abbeyfield for Companionship at Christmas.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Abbeyfield is a leading provider of accommodation, care and support for older people. We have been working for 60 years to alleviate loneliness and provide companionship and support for older people. Abbeyfield cares about the whole person, their past, present and future. We have dedicated staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to make time for older people and make life easier, happier and more fulfilling for all older people - regardless of race, ability, gender or religion.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Angeline Burke

    Partnership Manager Trusts & Foundations, Abbeyfield Society, responsible for securing funds for the project.

    Anna Boyes

    Director of Marketing, Abbeyfield Society, responsible for marketing COPE across print and social media to internal and external audiences.

    Tracey Avison

    Head of Volunteering, Abbeyfield Society - promoting volunteering at our houses

    Tanner Trust

    A commitment to giving £3,000 each year to support the campaign in Cornwall.


Can pay for a traditional Christmas dinner and a small gift for a lonely older person