Secret Santas to bring festive joy to older people across the borough

Hundreds of ‘Secret Santas’ are helping to bring a little festive joy to lonely older people across North Tyneside.

Over the next few days, 330 boxes containing gifts and goodies are being delivered to EveryDay Care & Support’s wellbeing centres and extra care schemes.

According to research from North Tyneside Council, there are around 13,500 people over 65 in the borough who live alone and are at risk of isolation and loneliness.

Sophie’s Secret Santa

Teacher Sophie Ritson has organised the Secret Santa campaign to spread some happiness at the end of what has been a tough year for so many.

Sophie, 30, from Cramlington, said: “I saw a news story about a woman who was trying desperately to see her mum in a care home, and it got me thinking how lonely many older people will have been the past few months.

“Some of them won’t have seen anyone since March, and so thought doing a Secret Santa for them would be a good idea, to give them something to smile about.

“I put the idea on my Facebook page and asked if anybody would want to take part, and when I woke up the next morning I was inundated with people trying to help. The response has been overwhelming!

“I just think 2020 has been such a terrible year, and this will hopefully bring a little bit of light in what has been a dark time for so many people.”

Little Movers North Tyneside

Sophie previously worked with us in 2019, when she ran some inter-generational classes with her Little Movers children’s groups at two local wellbeing centres.

The boxes have been collected from drop-off points across North Tyneside over the past few weeks, and will be delivered by the charity’s staff in the run-up to Christmas.

Although the ‘Secret Santas’ were not given full names of recipients, they were provided with their likes and interests so each box could be personalised.

Thank You from Dawn

EveryDay Care & Support, Group Chief Executive Dawn McNally said: “Social interaction, especially for older people has been hugely impacted by the pandemic and this simple act of kindness will mean so much. We have been overwhelmed in 2020 by the kindness and generosity shown to others.

“I’d like to thank North Tyneside Little Movers and specifically Sophie Ritson and the families involved for their amazing donation of 200 Christmas gifts for older people in North Tyneside.

“Now more than ever, no one should have no one. These gifts of kindness will remind them that they are not forgotten.”

You can see some of the donated presents as well as the creation of the paintings here.

To find out more about EveryDay Care & Support and the services we offer, call us on 0191 287 7028 or email

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