A CAFE owner is opening up her doors to the community to help elderly residents avoid loneliness at Christmas time.

Anita Ayres, 48, owner of Anita’s Tearooms, at Smallgains Marina, on Canvey, decided to get in to the community spirit and bring Christmas early to those who are facing Christmas Day alone.

The event, which will run on December 10, will see 14 elderly people offered a Christmas lunch and a day of games, presents and fun.

Anita is also hoping to get a choir to come to down and perform some carols.

She said: “Some elderly people have no one and don’t get to enjoy Christmas when they are all alone.

“I used to be a carer, and I thought it would be nice to give something back.

“We would really love a local choir to offer to come down and sing some carols for the guests, so any choirs please get in touch.”

Anita has managed to raise about £150 through GoFundMe to help fund the event and cover the cost of the food, but is hoping a sponsor will also come forward to help out.

Christmas is considered to be the loneliest time of the year for more than 1.5 million older people, according to a new Age UK report.

The charity, which questioned 2,000 people aged 65 and over, estimates that about 200,000 elderly people will spend the holiday alone this year.

Age UK runs a befriending service where volunteers can visit an older person in their home or accompany them to a social activity.

There are currently five spaces left for Anita’s Christmas afternoon.

Please contact Anita on 07756 421021 to enquire about helping out or if you are, or know an elderly person who would like to attend.

To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/f/christmas-afternoon-for-the-elderly

For Anita’s Tearooms, visit facebook.com/anitastearooms