Tea and cake lovers in the Renfrewshire area are being urged get in touch with local charity Contact the Elderly.


The charity provides free monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for those aged 70 and over has been described by some as a social lifeline for those who are not often presented with opportunities to get out and meet people.


Caroline McGinlay, Scotland Support Volunteer Officer said:

“I am confident there are many people in Paisley, Renfrew, Erskine, Bishopton and Inchinnan and beyond who could benefit from these terrific tea parties. It’s just letting them know we’re here that’s the tricky bit!


“We hope spreading the word will encourage both guests and volunteers to get in touch. The charity is based on such a lovely idea and the time you need to donate is very modest but has an immeasurable impact on guests. Our volunteers all really enjoy themselves as well.”


A volunteer host welcomes a small group of around six guests and four drivers once or twice a year. They need to have no more than a few stairs to climb to their home, and a downstairs toilet.


Drivers tend to collect the same guest or guests from their home and also join them for afternoon tea each month leading to strong relationships being built over time.


Across Scotland, Contact the Elderly supports 764 people through its network of 1,035 volunteers.

To find out how you can volunteer with Contact the Elderly or become a guest, please get in touch with Caroline McGinlay, Scotland Support Volunteer Officer via 0141 812 1555 or



Contact the Elderly is calling on the support of its network of guests, volunteers and stakeholders throughout Scotland to help it achieve a funding goal.

The charity, which has over 80 groups throughout the country from the Borders to the Highlands, is in the running for funding from the Bank of Scotland Community Fund. It is currently sitting at second place in Edinburgh and hopes to nudge its way up to first with its community’s support.


There are four shortlisted charities in Edinburgh who will receive between £500 and £3000. The funding level is decided by the number of votes each charity receives with the vote closing on 10th October.

Anne Grindley, Edinburgh Area Organiser for the charity, said:

“We are thrilled to have been selected for the Bank of Scotland’s Community Fund from the many applicants. We hope our supporters, guests and volunteers will vote for us and it’s great to know that when the polls close, we will be receiving a much appreciated donation to the charity.”

Contact the Elderly offers lonely people aged 75 and over a social lifeline. Volunteer drivers collect one or two older people in their car and join them at a tea party in a volunteer host’s home. The parties tend to welcome around six older guests and four drivers, and take place monthly on Sundays. In Edinburgh there are eight such groups that enjoy an afternoon of stories, laughter and conversation.

Valerie Crookston, Scotland Executive Officer at Contact the Elderly, said:

“This is a great opportunity for our Edinburgh groups to raise a fantastic sum and we would like to appeal to our many supporters throughout the country to help us be as successful as possible.”

You can vote for Contact the Elderly online, in participating Bank of Scotland branches and via twitter or text message. Visit for more details.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


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Contact the Elderly is looking for a volunteer Group Coordinator, volunteer drivers and reserve drivers to help with their monthly tea parties in Paisley. There are four groups in the Renfrewshire area, the most recent of which launched in February of this year.


Margaret Oliver, West Scotland’s Development Officer for Contact the Elderly, said:

“Our guests really enjoy the monthly tea parties and to keep them running smoothly we need a Group Coordinator and drivers. I encourage anyone who enjoys tea and cake and has a little spare time to get in touch.”

Contact the Elderly gives people aged 75 and over, who are lonely or isolated, the opportunity to meet others over an afternoon tea.

Volunteer drivers collect the older person and join them at a tea party in a volunteers host’s home. The parties tend to welcome around six older guests and four drivers, and take place monthly on a Sunday afternoon.

A host will welcome the group a couple of times a year and must have an accessible home, with no more than a few stairs to climb, and a downstairs toilet. Drivers tend to be paired with the same older person each month allowing a friendship and relationship to develop.

To find out more about when and where tea parties are taking place and for more information on the volunteering opportunities, contact Margaret Oliver- 01389 605915 or[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]



Contact the Elderly has declared a state-of-emergency as the number of socially isolated older people reaches breaking point.

Spurred by concern over the speed at which the government is tackling the problem of a million neglected older people in the UK who are off the radar, and the rate at which these numbers are growing, the charity is taking the issue into its own hands as it heads into its 50th year.


Supported by a network of volunteers across Scotland, England and Wales, Contact the Elderly offers a vital lifeline of friendship to those aged 75 and over, who live alone. The charity’s monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties enable older people to receive much-needed human contact.

Now the charity is calling for more volunteers to get involved to host a tea party in their home once a year or to drive older guests to and from the parties once a month.

A new study conducted by independent research agency Qa Research reveals that almost one in five (19%) of the older people Contact the Elderly supports joined the charity because they rarely saw another person.

In Scotland, 14% of respondents joined the groups because they ‘rarely saw another person’ and 17% only see friends and family ‘a few times and year or less’.

With almost 50 years’ experience, Contact the Elderly knows that the solution to loneliness can be as simple as a regular face-to-face chat over a cup of tea. Some 78 per cent of the older people surveyed feel less lonely as a result of the monthly tea parties. A total of 96% said the tea parties give them something to look forward to.

Margaret Oliver, West of Scotland Development Officer, says, “We offer a vital lifeline of friendship to some of the loneliest people i. By its nature, social isolation often means that the loneliest people are the hardest to reach. By spreading the word we can encourage more local people to give up just two hours a month as a driver, or a few hours a year as a host.”

With the survey identifying key loneliness triggers as marital bereavement (22%) and lack of mobility (51%); 80 per cent of guests said they felt happier after joining one of the charity’s groups.

Contact the Elderly Founder and Chairman, Trevor Lyttleton MBE, says “Loneliness amongst older people has reached a state of emergency and must not be ignored. For almost 50 years we have been focussing on providing a cost-effective solution, yet the demand for our service has never been so high.

“We know our formula of tea and conversation works, but we simply cannot reach out to the people that desperately need our help without increased volunteers and funding.”

If you want to volunteer for Contact the Elderly or join as a guest, please Margaret on or 01389 605915.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


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For Volunteers’ Week, Contact the Elderly wants to thank the volunteers in Paisley, who have helped make the charity’s local group a success.

Volunteers’ Week is an annual event which takes place from 1st to 7th June. It celebrates the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK and Contact the Elderly knows just how important these people are. Without volunteers the charity could not survive.


Contact the Elderly provides a social lifeline to those over 75 who live alone. Groups are formed locally and tea parties, which are held in volunteer’s homes, give guests the chance to spend time with others. Volunteer drivers also donate their time to take the elderly guests to and from the host’s home.

Margaret Oliver, West Scotland’s development officer said:

“It goes without saying, just how grateful we are to our volunteers in Paisley and across Scotland. That’s why Volunteers’ Week is so important to us. It gives the charity a chance to truly thank each and every individual who makes a difference in these elderly people’s lives.

“For many, our tea parties are the only opportunity for those attending to socialise, or even leave their homes and it would not be possible without volunteer hosts and drivers.

“Day to day life for so many of us is often busy and frantic, so to give up some of your time to better the lives of elderly people is really remarkable. We hope to continue growing and starting new groups and the only way we can do this is with continued support from our volunteers.”

To find out how you can volunteer with Contact the Elderly in Paisley please get in touch with Margaret Oliver, West Scotland’s development officer on 01389 605915 or by email,


Contact the Elderly.

Contact the Elderly is a national organisation which aims to relieve the acute loneliness and isolation of people over the age of 75.  We organise small groups of volunteer drivers who take elderly members to a host’s home for tea one Sunday a month.  The group is warmly welcomed by a different host each month, but the drivers remain the same which means that over the months and years, acquaintances turn into friends and loneliness is replaced by companionship.  Our service is free.

While for some, living alone is a lifestyle choice and one they very much enjoy, for others, it can sometimes lead to feelings of social isolation and loneliness, especially as people grow older, mobility and health declines and social circles narrow.

We are now looking for volunteer drivers who can drive once a month on a Sunday (or be a reserve driver), or host a couple of times a year in their own homes.  Drivers must have their own cars, and hosts must have easy access to their homes and a downstairs toilet.

Contact the Elderly
PO Box 5207

Winner of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award 2012

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