A care home is helping to tackle loneliness this Christmas Day by opening its doors to isolated members of the community for lunch.

Woodland Grove on Rectory Lane, Loughton, is asking residents and organisations supporting the town’s older people to nominate individuals who may be facing the festive season alone.

Hazel McGwyne, home manager for Woodland Grove, said: “We know there will be many people who don’t have anyone to spend the day with.

“We would like to invite a small number of people to come into our home and have lunch with us.

“Our head chef, Laura Allars, and her team make a fantastic Christmas roast, there’ll be mince pies and maybe a glass or two to celebrate the day.

“Good company and good food can do a lot for our wellbeing and who knows – it could also be the start of a lovely friendship for someone.”

Figures from Age UK suggest more than 230,000 older people will spend at least one day over the festive season alone.

Helen Reed is a resident at Woodland Grove and says Christmas there is very special.

“I really enjoyed Christmas Day last year,” she said. “The food was good and everyone around me was very happy. I think someone would have a lovely time spending the day here.”

Father Christmas and his helpers will also be making a visit to residents on Wednesday, December 25 who’ll be handing out gifts.

There will be traditional festive music and the Queen’s Speech shown in the home’s cinema room.

Woodland Grove’s Lifestyle staff, who organise the festive entertainment, were recently shortlisted for ‘Activities Team of the Year’ in the Caring UK national care awards.

To nominate someone for Christmas lunch at Woodland Grove, contact Kiera Helsey at lifestyles.wg@oaklandcare.com or call 0208 508 9220.