THE young and old alike had an early festive treat yesterday thanks a charity initiative.

That's as ten residents at Sandringham Care Home, in Bishop Auckland, were joined by seven young people being supported by Groundwork North East & Cumbria, for a Christmas party with McDonald's food.

Burgers, chicken nuggets and fries were just some of the free food enjoyed by the residents and youngsters.

They were brought together by Groundwork - the regeneration charity which helps young people in County Durham achieve sustainable employment.

Employer engagement lead, Jason Cook, said the charity had called on its partners to put on the lunch including McDonald's, Bishop Auckland Job Centre and the home itself.

Mr Cook said: "We thought it would be a great idea to organise a Christmas party event to celebrate our achievements whilst providing the opportunity for our young people to meet the residents."

He added: "It's been nice to bring them together especially as one or two might want to work in care but it's a bit of a treat for everybody."

Resident Don Barton said he was delighted to be seated with Amy Dowson, 23, and was "taken aback" by the treat as he tucked into a Big Mac burger.

Miss Dowson, whose ideal job is to work with horses, added: "It's nice to do something different and come and help people."

McDonald's assistant manager, Keira Lamb, and crew trainer Sam Hodgkinson, delivered the meals from the Bishop Auckland branch and said it was always a pleasure to deliver community events, especially during the Christmas period.

Bishop Auckland Town Councillor, David Wilson, also attended the event.

He said: " It's great that Groundwork is encouraging mixing older people with the younger people and it's nice to get involved."

Paul Taylorson, employer advisor at the Job Centre, said: "We kind of do the same job as Groundwork so we thought we would join forces over a year ago and it's been working ever since. This is what it's all about and the older and younger generation have different life skills so it's all about networking."

The home's activity coordinators, Steph Neil and Karen Barker, helped organise the event and said it was "fun" for the residents.

Ms Neil said: "It took a bit of organising but it's fun for the residents and gets them socialising with new people. Everyone is loving it."