A CHARITY which hosts monthly afternoon tea parties for older people has launched its 100th group in Scotland.
The first Contact the Elderly meeting took place in 1971 in Clarkston, East Renfrewshire, with just a handful of guests and volunteers.
There are now about 900 over-75s who live alone enjoying tea, cake and company during the free monthly meet-ups thanks to more than 1,100 people volunteering for the charity.
Groups get together on Sundays from the Borders to the Highlands, with the latest addition launched in Edinburgh - the 14th in the city.
Valerie Crookston, the charity’s executive officer in Scotland, said: “It is a fantastic testament to our invaluable volunteers, fantastic guests and great team here in Scotland that we have reached this landmark number of groups.
“The amount of lives our tea parties have helped make better over the years will be extraordinary and of this I am incredibly proud.
“We operate on a very simple premise but the results are immeasurable.
“Feedback from the older people we receive each and every week shows us just how much the friendships and outings with Contact the Elderly groups mean.”
The charity works by providing a volunteer driver to collect one or two older people and take them to an afternoon tea party in a volunteer host’s home once a month.
It currently has a waiting list of more than 100 older people throughout Scotland and is appealing for more volunteers.
Betty, from Brechin, Angus, who has been attending the tea parties for more than 15 years, said: “I don’t get out very much now, so the Contact the Elderly tea parties are marvellous.
“I tell everyone I meet about them as I have made great friends over the years.”
The newest group held its first tea party in the home of 32-year-old Klaire McIntyre in Leith, Edinburgh.
She said: “We all had a fantastic time and I’m looking forward to many more parties in the years to come.
“It’s a fantastic charity and I can already see the difference it can make to the lives of older people.”