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Christmas party returns to London for people spending festive season alone

The annual One Day at Christmas party launched by Mash Media takes place at ExCel London (ODAC)
The annual One Day at Christmas party launched by Mash Media takes place at ExCel London (ODAC)

A Christmas bash is being held for the elderly, vulnerable and people at risk of spending the festive holidays alone.

The charitable event, One Day at Christmas, returns on December 1 and will take place simultaneously across five venues including ExCel and Business Design Centre in London, Farnborough International in Surrey, SEC in Glasgow and NEC in Birmingham.

It is hosted by a string of event industry organisers, including Mash Media and See Tickets.

With more than three million people in England over the age of 65 living alone, and half a million more reporting that they are lonelier than in the first year of the pandemic, Christmas can be an isolating time of year for many.

Research by Campaign to End Loneliness shows that 49 per cent of adults in the UK - 25 million people - reported feeling "occasionally", "sometimes", "often" or "always" lonely in 2022.

Age UK said around one in 20 older people are facing the festive period alone, without speaking to anyone.

Increases in the cost of living have forced older people to lead solitary lives, the charity said, with two in five now unable to eat out, go on trips and do physical activity because it is too expensive.

Since launching in 2017 at London’s ExCel, One Day at Christmas offers festive food, drink and entertainment such as carol signing and bingo for vulnerable people. Last year saw 900 people attend the party.

Many organisations in the events industry, including Messe Frankfurt, helped support the initiative with donations, gifts and entertainment to help make the festive period less lonely for many.

Founder of Mash Media, Julian Agostini, said: "One Day at Christmas embodies everything our industry does – it brings people together for unforgettable experiences. And we’re so pleased to be back this year with even more venues."