Volunteers in Cardiff are making plans to prevent loneliness among some young adults who won’t be spending Christmas Day with their families. The Cardiff Christmas Dinner will offer food, gifts, activities and company for young people who are care-experienced in Cardiff and the surrounding area on Christmas Day 2022. 

Care-experienced young people are those who lived in foster care, kinship care or children’s homes when growing up and for this reason can be more likely to experience social isolation as adults. They are twice as likely to report feeling lonely most or all of the time than other young people in the general population.

A group of volunteers, known as ‘hosts’ with knowledge of the needs of care-experienced young people are working together to ensure that fewer young adults in the Cardiff area will be alone on Christmas Day. The hosts work at CASCADE children’s social care research centre at Cardiff University and a range of charities including Children in Wales, Voices from Care and NYAS Cymru. Some of the hosts have experience of foster care or residential care and understand how difficult the festive season can be. 

J. aged 20 from south Wales said: “I always went to my nana’s for Christmas but since she passed, I never know. I have been to an ex-foster carer’s a few times but she hasn’t asked me yet this year so I may end up on my own on Christmas Day. I would hate that, especially as I am struggling for money at the moment.”

The dinner and activities are inspired by similar dinners in a range of English cities. The movement was started by the renowned poet Lemn Sissay, who has written extensively about his own experiences of growing up in care. The Cardiff Christmas Dinner will be the first Welsh dinner and the hosts hope that, if it is a success, they will be able to support similar Christmas Day activities in
other parts of Wales in the future.

Guests, aged from 18-25, who would otherwise be alone on Christmas Day, will be invited from a 30 mile radius of Cardiff and transport will be provided for them. They will receive gifts, dinner and fun activities. 

The volunteers are raising money for the event, with funds raised being managed by the registered charity Voices from Care. We are also on the look-out for a caterer and high-quality gifts and decorations for the event.

Anyone wishing to help can email thecardiffchristmasdinner@gmail.com or contact us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/CardiffXmasDin