Andrew Warshaw on how a local charity is stepping up to help those struggling this Christmas
An Enfield charity is bringing festive cheer to elderly people at risk of loneliness this Christmas.
Jenny Ramadan, who runs Enfield Health and Wellbeing Centre (EHWC) from her home in Bush Hill Park, is giving up part of her Christmas Day to distribute a traditional lunch to over-60s across the borough, along with a small present to open.
Jenny has been running the not-for-profit organisation for three years. It provides a number of services, but the biggest is its assessment-based, confidence-boosting befriending initiative, delivered to around 500 local clients.
Despite being a single parent of eight children, Jenny is no stranger to charity work. Before setting up EHWC, she worked for eleven years for the Enfield branch of Age UK. And back in 2007 she received a prestigious ‘volunteer of the year’ award for London from Princess Anne, for her work with Victim Support Enfield.
But this year is the first time Jenny has set out to provide Christmas meals for the borough’s most vulnerable residents – giving up her own festive needs in the process.
“I got the idea because of lockdown,” Jenny told the Dispatch. “So many vulnerable people are really isolated and can’t see their families, or get out. Some have mental health issues, others are simply too scared to leave their homes.
“I woke up one morning and thought ‘should I, should I not?’. I decided, what have I got to lose?”
Jenny was recently contacted by an elderly 74-year-old Enfield woman living on her own. “She basically said that last Christmas she had baked beans on toast.
“She was so thrilled when I told her she would be having a proper Christmas Day meal. She’s a classic example of the kind of people we are trying to help.”
The food is being prepared according to individual needs on Christmas Eve, at St George’s Church Hall in Freezywater, and will be delivered to more than 50 people the following morning by Jenny and an enthusiastic team of volunteers.
Some might wonder why they are all prepared to give up their own Christmas morning. “The work we do is so rewarding, I don’t do this for money,” Jenny responds. “I do it because I genuinely want to help. I love the elderly who have so much knowledge and experience. Sometimes I think they are a forgotten generation. I was brought up by my grandmother and great-grandmother.
“Also, I wanted my introduce my children to socialising with the older generation. My clients are like our extended family.”