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JOINING CONTACT THE ELDERLY COULD BE THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT THIS YEAR

For most of us, Christmas is a time when families gather and special times are had with loved ones. But for many Christmas can be a lonely time, much like any other day for those with little or no company.

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Contact the Elderly, a charity which offers tea, cake and most importantly, company, to older people is currently looking for more guests to join their groups that help alleviate loneliness amongst the older generation in Renfrewshire.

The charity provides tea parties which take place once a month on a Sunday afternoon and are an opportunity for those aged 75 and over who live alone to get out of the house and socialise.

A vast network of more than 1300 volunteers currently help 1000 people across Scotland through 112 parties taking place throughout the country from the Borders to the Highlands.

A volunteer driver collects one or two guests and joins them at the party before returning them safely home. A volunteer host welcomes a group of six to eight people into their home once a year, laying on afternoon tea and a warm atmosphere.

Morna O’ May, Head of Service – Scotland, for Contact the Elderly said:

“Our presence has grown significantly in recent years but we are always aware there are so many more people we could be supporting and volunteers we could potentially be working with.

“Our tea parties in towns and cities throughout Scotland, including those running locally, make such a difference to older people who live alone and we cannot thank our volunteers enough. Without them the charity wouldn’t be possible.”

The charity recently launched the ‘Be Our Guest’ campaign encouraging people to help identify those in their local community who would enjoy the tea parties.

Morna continues:

“It is incredibly difficult for someone who is older, and often isolated, to reach out and ask for help. We work with agencies throughout Scotland to help us identify who might benefit from our services but we know there are more and are encouraging those to help us reach out to people in their community who would benefit from the chance to enjoy a bit of a blether over a tasty afternoon tea”.

When asked about their experience at the monthly tea parties guests comments were only ever positive. One said:

“It is such a relief for me to come here today.  I feel as if I’ve been swimming and struggling to get to the surface but now it’s easy to swim!”

A volunteer added:

“It is such a pleasure to be around the guests who are all lovely and still motivated to get out and meet other people. They were all very inspirational.”

To find out more about Contact the Elderly and volunteering contact morna.o’may@contact-the-elderly.org.uk.  To refer a potential older guest call Freephone 0800 716 543, visit www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk or email guest@contact-the-elderly.org.uk.