Following a successful bid for Big Lottery funding last year, the Southampton Older Persons and Disability Support services used some of the money to come together for a slap up Christmas lunch in the Southampton Novotel.

Over 90 customers came along to an afternoon of good food, music and dancing which really got everyone in the mood for Christmas.

After enjoying a lovely three course meal, including turkey with all the trimmings followed by Christmas pudding, everyone enjoyed dancing the night away to the DJ and kept their fingers crossed to see if they had won anything in the raffle.

Josie Torpey, activities and wellbeing co-ordinator in Hampshire, successfully applied for the “Celebrate” Big Lottery Fund earlier in year which aims to provide grants to celebrate communities through bringing people together. It also aims to create an inclusive community that can share culture and break down age and disability barriers and to build up a more positive view of each other.

Staff who supported customers at the event loved seeing how much their customers enjoyed the event:

It was great to see so many from the older persons’ scheme there, and especially the 80 year olds who didn’t want to miss out on the dancing! It was amazing to see so many customers all enjoying themselves together!” says Phillippa Fishlock, support assistant for Family Mosaic.

Customers also enjoyed the event, with one commenting; “The meal was excellent and the staff were very efficient and friendly. It was nice being with my neighbours and residents of other schemes.”

Along with the Christmas meal there were also several wreath making sessions organised by Pippa Grey, greening communities officer from the Social Inclusion team.

The sessions were held at schemes in Bognor and Southampton and 24 people came along to make something festive along with learning a new skill and spending time socialising with other people.

The wreaths comprised of natural materials, pine cones from the New Forest and holly that was brought in from relative’s gardens.

Customers again came from the Older Persons’ and Disability Service in Southampton along with the Homeless Floating Support in Southampton and the Older Peoples’ services in West Sussex.

Staff helped at all the workshops and the customers really enjoyed the sessions, including Lou who commented; “We have done more since being supported by Family Mosaic. The wreath making was an excellent morning.”

For more information about services in Hampshire, please take a look here.