A SALFORD student is hosting a free Valentines ball for local elderly residents this weekend.

Mum on a mission, Natalie Lek, is hosting the ball as part of an ongoing scheme which is designed to combat loneliness in Manchester.

Natalie, of Blackley, has set up the Launch Project as statistics reveal that Manchester has the second highest rate of loneliness and isolation in the UK.

The event will be completely free and open to any elderly residents in the area who wish to attend.

There will be a buffet for the guests to enjoy, as well as a live DJ and chocolates and roses for the guests.

Natalie said: “Holding events like the Valentines Ball encourages older people in later life to find love.

“It is so important that the elderly have the opportunity to get out and interact with other people.”

The mum and corporate law student has taken a year out of university to focus on this social action project.

Natalie saw first-hand how significant the problem of loneliness was over the past few years.

Natalie Lek

She has made over 1000 free Christmas dinners for vulnerable people in the Greater Manchester area who were struggling to make ends meet and the demand was incredibly high.

The Launch Project will see Natalie hosting events like the Valentines Ball every four to six weeks.

There are plans in place to hold weekly Sunday lunches, annual Easter parties and meet-ups for the elderly.

Natalie says that support from the local community for the project has been amazing.

She said: “It’s really important that businesses understand that if they give back to the community, then they will help you.”

Volunteers in the community have even offered free transport for the elderly to get to the event.

Natalie, who has held a meeting with Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett, said that Salford City Council has been very supportive of the scheme.

The event is taking place on the 18th February from 12pm to 6pm at the De La Salle Sports & Social Club.

There are around 150 tickets available for the ball.

If you know any elderly people who would love to attend this ball, then call 07523772507, or email bookings@thelaunchproject.org.

For more information visit http://thelaunchproject.org/.

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