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This winter, Big Hearts are bringing Christmas cheer, kindness and compassion to older people in the community by taking part in the Festive Friends programme.

With thanks to the continued support from the SPFL Trust, the official charity of Heart of Midlothian will welcome over 150 guests to enjoy a delicious Christmas dinner served in the Gorgie Suite at Tynecastle Park.

This year’s Memories lunch will see participants and volunteers from both Monday and Tuesday groups come together to have one big celebration, with musical entertainment and a present for everyone to take home. The Festive Friends event will mark the end of another successful year where Big Hearts’ free reminiscence group for over 65s at risk of social isolation has supported 141 individuals.

The SPFL Trust’s Festive Friends programme is now in its eighth year and is expected to support around 3,600 people this year across Scotland. Big Hearts are delighted to join the 2023 campaign along with 41 SPFL associated community trusts and clubs working with local partners to identify older people who may be feeling lonely or isolated.

It’s been a difficult year for everyone, as we deal with the pressures of the cost-of-living crisis. But of course, winter is always a tough time for older people, who may be experiencing loneliness.

Around 13,000 people have enjoyed Festive Friends in the last seven years and that number is expected to reach nearly 17,000 this year.

SPFL Trust CEO Nicky Reid said: “Festive Friends is a highlight in the SPFL Trust calendar, and one of the biggest events for our colleagues at clubs and community trusts across Scotland.

“It’s all about coming together to have a real impact in the lives of older people who might be experiencing loneliness throughout the festive period.

“It’s Christmas spirit in action as we see the power that SPFL clubs and associated community trusts have in their communities.

“Our research shows that almost 83% of people live within ten miles of a SPFL ground – because of this clubs and their associated community trusts are well positioned to support change in their communities.

“This year 42 clubs are involved, and we look forward to spreading festive magic to many across Scotland, bringing kindness and compassion this Christmas.”

Big Hearts’ Head of Delivery Amanda Farquhar said: “Big Hearts are once again thrilled to have the support of the SPFL Trust’s Festive Friends programme, which allows our charity to provide a celebration for older people. On Tuesday 19th December, we look forward to welcoming over 150 individuals to Tynecastle Park where they will enjoy a three-course lunch, along with entertainment and gifts.

This festive lunch will form a key part of our winter support for older people who may be feeling lonely or isolated and will provide an enjoyable afternoon out, in a warm and safe space.

We take pride in being part of the wider community of football clubs, trusts, and foundations throughout Scotland. Together, we are committed to ensuring essential support reaches those in need during the festive season.”


– December 2023

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