Ring a bell on your doorstep this Christmas Eve to spread festive cheer and bring communities together again

7 mins read



WHAT a clang-tastic result – nearly 450,000 people have signed up to ring a bell on their doorsteps on Christmas Eve to spread festive cheer and bring communities together again.

Mum-of-two Mary Beggs-Reid dreamed up the campaign following the popularity of the weekly Clap For Carers during the first Covid lockdown.

SWNS:South West News Service

Mary Beggs-Reid is calling on people to ring a bell from their doorsteps for two minutes at 6pm on Christmas Eve[/caption]

The Sun’s Christmas Together campaign

THIS Christmas we are teaming up with the Together Campaign, a coalition of community groups and organisations, and Royal Voluntary Service to combat loneliness.

And we want to recruit an army of volunteers to support those feeling cut off, anxious and isolated, this Christmas.

Could YOU reach out to someone who might be struggling and alone?    

It might be someone you know in your own life or community who needs support.

Or we can connect you with someone in need through the NHS Volunteer responder programme run by the NHS, Royal Voluntary Service and the GoodSAM app. 

Could you give up half an hour to make a call and chat with someone feeling  isolated? Or could you volunteer to deliver essential shopping or festive treats?

Go to nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/christmastogether to sign up as a volunteer. 

You will then receive an email taking you through the sign up process and be asked to download the responder app which will match you to those in need in your area.

Don’t worry if you don’t get a job straight away, because jobs are matched according to the need local to you.  Being ready to help is what really matters.

She is calling on people to ring a bell from their doorsteps for two minutes at 6pm on Christmas Eve.

Mary, 41, from Harrogate, North Yorks, has also teamed up with the Together Campaign, a coalition of community groups and organisations, which is urging the public to “give someone a bell” over the festive period.

It is working with the Royal Voluntary Service and The Sun as part of our Christmas Together campaign, aiming to lift the spirits of anyone who is feeling lonely or isolated this Christmas.

And today Mary is set to join a call with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his fiancée Carrie Symonds to someone who is set to spend Christmas alone.

Mary, a property manager, originally intended to get just her own street involved but after creating a Facebook group in October, word quickly spread.

‘HOPE AND TOGETHERNESS’

Now her idea has gone viral, with 443,000 people set to join in.

She says: “People have contacted me from all over the country, America and Australia.

“It’s amazing how it has taken off.”

Mary, who lives with her husband Paul, 41, a security manager, and children Eva, 14, and ten-year-old Dexter, says local shops have run low on bells.

She adds: “The manager of Home Bargains in York said they sold out in a day.

“But you don’t need a bell. There are phone apps you can get to recreate the sound, or you could try making your own.

SWNS:South West News Service

Mary’s idea has gone viral, with 443,000 people set to join in (pictured with son Dexter)[/caption]

Loneliness by numbers

1 in 5 people who live alone will spend Christmas on their own

60% said they had felt more lonely during the pandemic

37% people know someone who will be spending Christmas alone

16% Brits said they were ‘dreading’ Christmas 

52% said they have helped a vulnerable person during the pandemic 

4.2 million adults always or often felt lonely during the second national lockdown

16 to 29-year-olds are twice as likely as the over-70s to be experiencing loneliness in the pandemic

£5.9m marked by Government pilot to tackle loneliness


“One lady told me she had put bottle tops in a bag and it sounds just like sleigh bells.”

Mary says if it helps one person feel less alone this Christmas, it will be worth it.

She adds: “It’s a simple idea to show that even at a time when we can’t all be with each other, we can still do something that sends a message of hope and togetherness.”

Now get involved

COULD you call someone feeling lonely this Christmas or deliver essential shopping or festive treats?

Go online to nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/christmastogether.

NEED HELP? IF you would like a friendly call or need help with errands, call 0808 196 3646 (open 8am-8pm, seven days a week).

To support the Royal Voluntary Service, text RVS5 to 70570 to donate £5, visit royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/christmasdonate or call 0800 731 9197.

Texts cost £5 plus one message at your standard network rate. Get bill payer’s permission. UK networks only.

GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]

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