A series of light switch-ons, visits from Santa and a week of Christmas lunches will be held to tackle isolation and loneliness across Newham.

The We Are Together at Christmas campaign will kick off at East Ham Town Hall on November 19, where Mayor Cllr Rokhsana Fiaz will switch on the Christmas civic lights in an event running from 4pm to 6pm.

Alongside a Santa's Grotto, there will be festive live entertainment and arts and crafts workshops for children and families.

There will be a further ten local switch-on events across the borough.

Closer to Christmas, there will be a week of ten festive lunches from December 12 to 17.

These include two at Stratford Town Hall held specifically for older people. A further eight local Christmas lunches will be hosted by Newham Council's neighbourhood teams.

During the week, residents, businesses, charities and faith groups are also strongly encouraged to host lunches across the borough.

Cllr Charlene McLean, cabinet member for resident experience and engagement, said: "Christmas is a time to come together with others to celebrate. For those of faith, and no faith, it is a really important time.

"But for many, including those facing financial hardship, it can be an isolating and lonely period.

"That’s why we want to encourage all our residents, businesses and groups to think about those around them who might be struggling to join in this Christmas."

She continued: "We know this is a difficult time for many households, but we have had difficult times before.

"During the Covid-19 pandemic our communities pulled together to support our most vulnerable residents, I am asking everyone who can, to tap into that community spirit again this Christmas.

"We want to see parties thrown across the borough to bring everyone together around a table, no matter how big or small, to celebrate the season."

Details of all switch-on events can be found at www.newham.gov.uk/community-parks-leisure/together-christmas/3

Individuals, organisations and businesses can also get involved in the Christmas week of lunches at www.newham.gov.uk/community-parks-leisure/together-christmas/4