A little time, a lot of fun, a lasting difference

First published in News

FOLLOWING the success of Volunteers’ Week this month, the charity Contact the Elderly is encouraging local residents of Barry to spare just a few hours each month to help with the running of local tea parties for older people – 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 free monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups of older people within local communities – providing a regular and vital friendship link.

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. The charity is looking to recruit drivers who are able to pick up the older guests from their homes and accompany them to 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 South Wales development officer, Marion Lowther, said: “Our existing volunteers do an amazing job of helping Contact the Elderly to extend our vital life to isolated older people in local communities. However, to reach a greater number of older people in Barry we need to recruit even more willing volunteers.

“We know that everyone leads busy lives, so Contact the Elderly is an ideal volunteering opportunity for those who do not have much spare time. Anyone who can give just a few hours one Sunday afternoon 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.”

Erica Ryan, a volunteer driver for Contact the Elderly, said: “It’s rewarding because you get to know the older guests really well and it’s nice to see them every month and talk to them about what they’ve been up to. Seeing how much they enjoy it and knowing how much they look forward to spending time with all of us is just wonderful.”

Barry residents who are interested in becoming a volunteer for Contact the Elderly, should contact Marion Lowther, South Wales Development Officer, 01792 862702 or marion.lowther@contact-the-elderly.org.uk

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