A SALTCOATS gym will open on Christmas to make sure all residents can enjoy a hot festival meal.

Councillor Jim Montgomerie is determined to make sure everyone has something to look forward to on December 25.

He plans on cooking a major feast for the community and paying for it off his own back to help his neighbours.

It comes after research showed nearly 110,000 older people in Scotland are expecting to eat Christmas dinner alone.

Jim was inspired to take on the festive task after working with underprivileged youngsters.

The Labour Councillor couldn’t bare the thought of people being left alone and launched the lastest event at the IMC project.

Jim said: “The project will be on Christmas between 12 and 2pm and we will be giving out a two-course meal to anyone in need.

“I just want to help the area as much as possible.

“I deal with a lot of underprivileged youngsters so I want to put a bit back into the community.

“We will also be putting on a free service to anyone who can’t get there but might want to come long.

“I’m paying for it all myself and I will cook it with my wife and bring it down.

“It is really for anyone in isolation and youngsters going through hard times. People don’t need to book you can just turn up.

“Christmas is one of my days off so I wanted to do something good with it.

“We are living in a high deprivation area and so we need to put into the community to help people out - especially they younger generation. When youngsters at the gym found out I was putting it on they approached me and asked if they could help - I thought that was brilliant coming from wee 13-year-old boys, it blows my mind.”

Anyone who is interested in attending or needs help with transport should call Jim on 07384 806467.

New research from Age Scotland shows the extent of the country’s loneliness epidemic, and how it can be most acute during the festive season. The charity is launching its No One Should Have No One campaign with sister charity Age UK, to shine a light on how tough this time of year can be for many older people, especially if they are on their own having lost their partner. While most of us are looking forward to celebrating with loved ones, one in 10 over-65s in Scotland (around 106,000) say they will eat dinner alone on Christmas Day.