Contact the Elderly, the only charity solely dedicated to loneliness and isolation among older people, is urgently appealing for volunteers living in Worthing to spare just a few hours each month to help with the running of local tea parties – and enjoy a cuppa and a cake themselves.
The charity aims to relieve the acute loneliness of isolated older people, aged 75 and above, who live alone, by organising monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups of older people within local communities – providing a regular and vital friendship link every month.
89 year-old Harold said: “The time I feel most lonely is after six o’clock at night but when I have been out to a Contact tea then I don’t feel lonely at all, just fresh memories of a lovely afternoon out with friends. It is good getting out and meeting people and it is fun for us to get together. It has made such a difference to my life.”
Each older guest is collected from their home by a volunteer driver, and is taken to a volunteer host’s home, where they join a small group for tea, chat and companionship. There are currently 3 groups in Worthing, however the charity is hoping to extend its lifeline to more isolated Worthing residents. But it is struggling to find volunteers who are able to drive and accompany older guests in the groups to and from the gatherings each month, and volunteer hosts to welcome the group into their homes for tea once or twice a year.
Contact the Elderly’s Surrey and Sussex Development Officer, Julia Rivas, said: “The charity is committed to offering a lifeline of friendship to the oldest and loneliest people. Anyone who can spare a couple of hours one Sunday a month, has a driving licence, a car, and a capacity for drinking tea, is eligible. And for those interested in becoming a host, it would just involve a couple of hours once or twice a year. It’s not a big commitment, and our volunteers genuinely get as much out of the experience as our older guests, so I’m calling for anyone who is interested in giving something back to their community to please get in touch with me as soon as possible.”
Worthing residents interested in volunteering for Contact the Elderly once a month as a driver, can contact Julia Rivas, Surrey and Sussex Development Officer on 01273 401569 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org