If you’re anything like me, you’re already imagining spending the festive season surrounded by your family and friends, enjoying all kinds of splendid treats.

Half a million older people here in the UK face the prospect of spending Christmas Day alone.

And even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you may take the opportunity to eat, drink and be merry with your nearest and dearest at some point over the next few weeks.

Sadly, this isn’t the case for nearly half a million older people here in the UK who face the prospect of spending Christmas Day alone, according to research by charity Contact the Elderly. This is in spite of the fact that the research also shows a third of the survey respondents plan to visit their older relatives over Christmas.

Many of those older people have been widowed, and can find themselves isolated or vulnerable. Christmas can be a really difficult time for them – highlighting their own loneliness amid the seasonal bustle going on around them.

Contact the Elderly have been working tirelessly for over 50 years in an effort to combat social isolation and loneliness among older people. They have a network of volunteers across the UK who support the elderly in their local communities, providing everything from cake and cuppa, to support and friendship.

This year, Contact the Elderly have joined forces with charity Community Christmas whose mission is to ensure ‘No older person should be alone on Christmas Day unless they want to be.’ Together they aim to provide real help to lift those older people out of isolation, and strengthen communities to support each other throughout the year, as well as at Christmas.

Community Christmas has an easy to use search facility on their website to help with finding all of the Christmas Day events in any given local area. The listings are updated weekly and have plenty of information around time, location and directions. Many events are free or suggest a small donation and list transport availability as well as whether volunteers are needed.

Help isn’t just for Christmas either – Contact the Elderly organise their Sunday afternoon tea parties throughout the year. If you’d like to find out more about events in your local area or how you can help either of these worthwhile charities, visit the Community Christmas and Contact the Elderly websites.