“Contact the Elderly” is a national charity which is aiming to combat loneliness and social isolation by arranging volunteer-led monthly afternoon tea parties, gatherings and outings.
Tracy Parr, the charity’s Support Officer for the Midlands, says that there is a Tea Party Group in Enderby but currently host numbers are very low. “We are looking for more people who could host a tea party once or twice a year for the group.”
Established over 50 years ago the charity has grown steadily and across the UK there are now 830 volunteer-led friendship groups.
Each group consists of about 6 to 8 older ‘guests, who are collected from their homes by a volunteer driver and taken to the host’s home or community venue one Sunday afternoon a month. The group is warmly welcomed by a different host each month, but the drivers remain the same so that over time acquaintances turn into friends and loneliness is replaced by companionship.
There are 2.2 million people aged over 75 living alone in the UK, a number increasing annually and an estimated 1.2 million chronically lonely older people. For many, TV is their main source of company.
Seeking volunteers ….and ‘guests’
Apart from volunteer ‘hosts’, Tracy is also asking people to refer ‘guests’ who they feel might benefit from joining the group. Contact the Elderly offers a vital lifeline of friendship to over 75’s who live alone, often with sight and hearing problems, and who are at risk of becoming isolated as their mobility decreases. Guest referrals can be received from relatives, friends and neighbours, as well as from other charities and organisations working with the elderly.
The charity’s model is based on a simple yet very effective concept; free, once a month Sunday tea parties for small groups of older people bringing all ages together, developing fulfilling friendships and giving everyone something to look forward to.
The Charity recognises that many have demands on their time but this form of ‘micro-volunteering’ can easily fit into busy lives. The charity does not ask for a big commitment time-wise from its volunteers.
A Tea Party Host is asked to invite the group into their home (or community venue) once or twice a year and provide a light afternoon tea. The property needs to have easy access and a downstairs toilet.
For further information visit www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk or contact Tracy: Telephone 01522 306565 or email firstname.lastname@example.org