Grantham Journal columnist Peter Clawson: Spare a thought for the most vulnerable
Loneliness isn’t just for Christmas, but for many folk, through no fault of their own, it lasts the whole year round.
So do spare a thought for those left on their own during the festive season and beyond.
Care in the Community was supposed to alleviate this problem, but it seems to me that as far as the powers-that-be are concerned, it has led to even more widespread: ‘Couldn’t Care Less in the Community.’
The trouble is that it doesn’t just apply to the chronically ill. Many more lonely people could get out if they had the will to, or ‘a little help from their friends’ and relations.
Also cut-backs and time limits imposed on care providers have meant that people who need real medical, physical and mental care regularly are losing out.
Charities and volunteers have had their funding axed to such an extent that, even though necessities have somehow been met to help keep their clients alive, long hours between visits have become unbearable in many cases.
I know that the perpetrators of the uncaring ideology will point out that in our self-centred modern society, family ties have loosened to the point of being severed entirely.
But that doesn’t excuse the NHS, Social Services and other caring organisations not being given the wherewithal to make a real difference. However, as it is Christmas and New Year after all, I must point out that there is one organisation which still does its best for the lonely and disadvantaged, especially during the festive season - the Church.
Anyone who manages to attend a Christmas service will always find the warmest of welcomes at a church, chapel or place of worship of any denomination, including an invitation to some form of coffee and mince pie or other get-together afterwards.
More offers of help usually follow. After all, that’s what Christmas is all about, isn’t it?