A leading charity is urgently seeking volunteers to spare a few hours a month hosting tea parties for lonely older people in Retford. Re-engage, formerly Contact the Elderly, is the only national charity focusing on tackling an emerging loneliness epidemic among over-75s. Since April 2013 the group have supported older people to attend the monthly tea parties, organised by the charity to encourage older guests to form friendships and regain confidence in later life.
On a Sunday afternoon each month, volunteer drivers collect older guests from their homes and escort them to tea parties held by volunteer hosts. As lack of transport and communal spaces are common factors in leaving older guests house-bound and unable to socialise, volunteers are fundamental in breaking down barriers for older people, ensuring equal opportunity of friendship and companionship are extended across generations.
Head of Service for the North East Tracy Parr said: “As a result of attending tea parties, I have watched guests come out of their shells and really begin to thrive again. It is difficult as an older person to feel connected to your community or those around you if you never have the chance to go outside or someone to speak to. Tea parties are a great way to get older people out and about and rebuild networks that have diminish in later life. It’s great fun and volunteers and guests often become friends as a result, which is wonderful to see.”
If you would like to join the community tackling loneliness amongst older people, become a volunteer driver or host in your local area by contacting Tracy Parr on 07914 152679 or email email@example.com.