School opens doors to seniors

A Weardale school has opened its doors for older people to enjoy a festive meal as part of its Christmas celebrations. 

Around 70 residents have been treated to a nutritional, hot Christmas meal by students and staff at Wolsingham School. For residents from surrounding villages including Cowshill, St Johns Chapel, Westgate, Eastgate, Stanhope, Wearhead and Frosterley, as well as Wolsingham itself, the event was also an important social gathering.

The project, supported by County Durham Housing Group’s community funding programme ‘group grant’, saw dinner prepared and served on-site by the school’s own catering team with assistance from staff and pupils. The students were also involved in serving and the post event clear up.

The visitors were even provided with free transport to the dinner using the school’s minibus, breaking down any barriers to their attendance regardless of their circumstances.

County Durham Housing Group Funding Officer, Damian Pearson, said: “This is a really inspiring project. It’s been great to see young and old from the Weardale area coming together to make this dinner possible. It speaks volumes for the community spirit of Weardale and I’m really pleased that we were able to contribute to making it take place. For many people the social side of the event is vital; it tackles isolation and loneliness at a very important time of the year.

“This is exactly the kind of project that ‘group grant’ was created to fund. A relatively small contribution of £500 has brought a healthy meal, and a smile, to dozens of people that will be remembered for a long time to come.”

Jonathan Ferstenberg, Headteacher of Wolsingham School said: “We are a community school and it was a real honour for us to be able to serve people who have been part of this community for so many years.”

Cllr Anita Savory said: “The Senior Citizens Christmas Dinner was a wonderful event, promoting community cohesion between our older members of the community and our students who gave their time voluntary after the school day. The event was enjoyed immensely by all those who attended. Many thanks to County Durham Housing for their support through funding.”

Full details of the group grant scheme are available here.

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