Contact the Elderly launches 17th group in Edinburgh

While it is an accomplishment for the charity, it being the fifth launched since January, more volunteers are still needed to meet demand from guests looking to join the charity.

Contact the Elderly celebrates a new group in Scotland. Picture: Contributed
Contact the Elderly celebrates a new group in Scotland. Picture: Contributed

The charity, a social lifeline for those aged 75 and over who live alone, provides tea, cake but, most importantly, company to more than 100 people through its network of volunteers.

The premise of the charity is simple but incredibly effective. A volunteer driver collects one or two guests once a month and joins them at a party before returning them safely home. A volunteer host welcomes a group of six to eight people into their home once or twice a year, laying on afternoon tea and a warm atmosphere.

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Currently there is a waiting list in the Capital as more older guests wish to join, but to facilitate more tea parties volunteer area organiser, Anne Grindley, needs more people to donate a little time. She said:

“It is of course a good thing that our service is being enjoyed by so many people, but unfortunate that guests are currently waiting to join.

“I hope that this will reach someone who feels they could afford to offer up a little bit of their time, once a month. The amount of time is so small compared to the huge impact it has on the lives of our guests. You only need to ask someone during a tea party what their monthly trips out mean to them to understand this for yourself.”

Across Scotland, Contact the Elderly supports more than 1,000 older people through its network of more than 1,100 volunteers and is always looking for volunteer drivers and hosts for local groups.

Having recently celebrated its Golden Jubilee, Contact the Elderly is the only national charity, which since inception, has focussed solely on relieving the acute loneliness and isolation of older people who live alone, without family, friends or other support networks nearby

The Contact the Elderly model is based on a simple yet very effective model: free, monthly tea parties for small groups of older people and volunteers within their community - which bring all ages together, develop fulfilling friendships and support networks, and give everyone something to look forward to.

Contact the Elderly currently has over 600 groups throughout England, Scotland and Wales, providing a regular, consistent and vital friendship link every month to over 4,800 older people aged 75 and above

There are currently over 7,800 volunteers supporting the groups: volunteer drivers collect the older guests from their homes and accompany them to tea parties, while volunteer hosts hold the tea parties in their homes

As part of its continuing Power of Contact campaign to recruit more volunteers, Contact the Elderly aims by 2020 to double the number of isolated older people it supports

Contact the Elderly is the winner of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award 2012

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