A generous mum and her team of volunteers are pulling out all the stops to get 2018 off to the best-possible start for vulnerable residents.
Paula Longworth and the group she founded We Care to Share will once again be providing food and fun for Wiganers who would otherwise face the New Year alone.
Paula, from Hindley, hopes this year’s third edition of the January 1 event will be the best yet, with a bigger venue in the shape of St Peter’s Pavilion secured for We Care to Share.
That means around 100 people should be involved on the day, with up to 60 enjoying a spectacular festive feast cooked by Paula and the other volunteers and other lavish meals taken to residents who are housebound or unable to get to the venue.
Paula said: “This year is going to be bigger and better than ever. I would say there are still more people out there who need this.
“There’s also a lot more community spirit which has been growing over the years. At first people weren’t too sure how this would be received but they’ve seen how fantastic it is and what a difference it makes to people.
“Now I’ve got a lot more people and organisations wanting to get involved. It’s not just for elderly people, if they are going to be on their own on New Year’s Day they are more than welcome to come.”
Paula is planning to mark the first day of the new year in style with rugby clubs, businesses and community groups all offering to help, a brass band coming to perform and plenty of entertainment including music played by a DJ on the programme.
Paula and her team will be donning costumes and local councillors will be putting on their marigold gloves and helping out in the kitchen.
As in previous years Paula is also preparing a number of hampers full of food which will be dispatched for organisations to distribute to those in need between Christmas and New Year.
It all adds up to an extremely busy December and festive season for Paula but she says all the effort is worth it.
She said: “It is absolutely fantastic. We’ve had laughter and we’ve had a few tears on the day because people are so happy that they are being thought of and cared about.
“There’s a lot of organising to do but I don’t mind. I grew up in care and that makes it so important for me to see the community pulling together.”
Paula is currently looking for volunteers to help on New Year’s Day and also for food donations for the hampers.
To find out more about We Care to Share, visit www.facebook.com/groups/970409576350804/