There's no need to be lonely this Christmas thanks to Dorchester feast

Dorset Echo: SPREADING THE JOY: Volunteers providing Christmas lunch at Dorset County Hospital SPREADING THE JOY: Volunteers providing Christmas lunch at Dorset County Hospital

THERE will be company on hand for people facing a lonely Christmas in Dorchester.

The Volunteer Centre Dorset says it has been overwhelmed by the support and generosity from the local community for its annual Company at Christmas event.

The Volunteer Centre organises a Christmas Day lunch every year at Damers Restaurant at Dorset County Hospital for people who would otherwise be alone.

The project is completely supported by volunteers, whose help ranges from wrapping presents to driving guests.

The manager of Volunteer Centre Dorset, Maria Waterman, said the response from local people for this year’s event had been ‘exceptional’.

She said: “This year has been exceptional. We have so many people enquiring about volunteering on Christmas Day.

“I really think people are looking for something more meaningful to do now and spend time with people who may otherwise be alone on Christmas Day.”

The guest list for the lunch is full and a number of volunteers have chosen to give up part of their Christmas Day to help with the event.

The project is designed to support older people who find it difficult on Christmas Day and who are alone, so they enjoy the day from start to finish.

Volunteer drivers will chauffeur the guests to the venue before they are greeted at the door. They will then enjoy a freshly made Christmas dinner before receiving presents and food hampers.

Marie said: “We couldn’t do this project if it wasn’t for the kind generosity of the people in Dorset, whether it is volunteers giving their time or businesses donating goods and money.”

Among the local businesses to show support for the event is Waitrose in Dorchester, which has donated £1,000 to the Volunteer Centre for the event.

Staff at the Gorge Cafe in South Street have also been collecting donations from their customers during November and into the beginning of December.

They raised £240, which they used to buy food for hampers that will be handed out to guests on the day.

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