Companions urge community to spread festive cheer and care

A CARING team of companions is calling on the community to spare some time for vulnerable neighbours this Christmas.

Uppermill-based Companions offer a helping hand to the elderly, infirm and their carers 365 days a year and wants people to do their bit too during the festive period and winter.

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Lynne Stott from Companions (right) with Vera Say (front) and her daughter Linda Edwards

The care service team spends time with several clients every day of the year and sees first-hand the positive impact a friendly face and a chat can have on those feeling alone.

Sue Shaw, who set up Companions in 2006 with Yvonne Gatley after almost 15 years in the care sector between them, explained Christmas is a favourite time for their long-term carers.

She commented: “When you arrive at someone’s home on Christmas morning, it feels as special as visiting your own family.

“We all feel lucky to have such rewarding jobs, but when you’re greeted with ‘Merry Christmas’ it’s lovely.

“We don’t mind working over the festive period because we know when we say goodbye, we might be the only person that gentleman or lady sees all day, and that can be heart-wrenching.”

Companions professionally cares for people with a wide range of needs – from those with dementia to short-term physical difficulties – both in their homes and getting out and about.

And Sue, who received a care award with Yvonne for ‘Outstanding Services’ during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, feels local communities can do more to help too.

She added: “Christmas is an emotional time and people can feel more alone than ever so a sit down with a cup of tea and a mince pie can make all the difference.

“The winter weather, which so often hits us hard in this area, can also mean the elderly and infirm are confined to their homes for prolonged periods of time.

“While funding is available, if an elderly person needs a lightbulb changing, a loaf of bread delivering when it’s icy out or a smiling face at the door, a neighbour can be the best person for the job.

“Putting a Christmas card through someone’s door with an offer of help and your phone number is a great introduction. I really hope a few more neighbours make companions this winter and that those friendships flourish.

To speak to someone confidentially at Companions about your needs or those of a loved one, call 01457 874 962 or email

The team supports people in Saddleworth, Oldham, Tameside and Rochdale and services include home help and housekeeping, personal support, companionship visits, night care, appointment escorts and excursions. Visit to find out more.


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