New community event hosted by Oakwood School brings festive cheer to the lonely this Christmas

Thursday 8th November 2018

Oakwood School have teamed up with the organisers of the very successful Emsworth Community Christmas to host a new community event within the local area of Funtington, opening its doors to people who may be alone and would enjoy Christmas Day in the company of others. Funtington Community Christmas will be hosted at Oakwood School and will be open to anyone who may otherwise be lonely on Christmas Day – young or old.

Jessica Bateman, founder of the original Emsworth Community Christmas event, commented, “Having hosted Emsworth Community Christmas for the last three years, it has been our dream to expand this to other communities and reach out to as many people as possible so that no one has to spend Christmas Day on their own. So, alongside Emsworth this year, we are hosting Funtington Community Christmas at Oakwood School. What started as a very small idea with a handful of guests has become an amazing event in the community hosting almost 100 people and is growing year on year, hence reaching out to other communities.”

The day will start at 10.30am where guests will be welcomed with a mince pie and festive drink, before enjoying a delicious traditional Christmas lunch with all the trimmings. There will be festive fun, carol singing, music, presents and plenty of opportunity to enjoy being with others for Christmas before the day draws to a close at 4pm.  Transport will be available for any guests who require lifts to and from the event.

Clare Bradbury, Headteacher at Oakwood School, said, “We are at the heart of the community here in Funtington and it made absolute sense to support this wonderful initiative and offer the school as a venue.  Many of our staff, families and friends will be involved in the preparation and running of the day, helping to make Christmas Day a day to remember –  we will even watch the Queen’s Speech together!”

Jessica Bateman went on to comment, “Nobody should feel as though they have no one to spend Christmas with, it is a time of togetherness and joy. We are able to reach out to the vulnerable and isolated and give them a day rich in warm conversation, music, delightful food, presents and of course much love and laughter.”

From now until the Christmas Day event, the team will be busy fundraising and there is a JustGiving page set up for anyone wishing to donate, accessed from the Funtington Community Christmas page on Facebook.  Money raised will be spent on transport, fresh produce, Christmas decorations and every guest will go home with a box of gifts put together by Oakwood children and handed out by Santa.

Anyone wishing to volunteer to help or attend the Community Christmas Day should contact the school directly on 01243 575209.