Vital party lifeline for the people who need it the most

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LIKE MANY of the 350 elderly guests that attend Contact the Elderly’s monthly tea parties in Yorkshire, for Mary Sunday is the loneliest day of the week.

When the charity started in 1965 it’s aim was simple, ensure those most at risk of loneliness get the companionship and support they deserve by bringing together groups of older people for monthly tea parties.

And with the number of isolated older people rising, its work is more important than ever.

Contact the Elderly’s chief executive Mary Rance said: “Our simple formula of tea, cake and conversation on a Sunday afternoon provides a vital lifeline to those with little or no support from family, friends or statutory services.”

And it shows, for 96 per cent of guests say the tea parties give them something to look forward to, and 80 per cent feeling happier as a result of joining a group.

In May the charity backed The Yorkshire Post’s Loneliness campaign. Then, it had 42 groups in the region, with 664 volunteers helping more than 300 elderly people. In just three months, it has added four more groups, more than 50 extra guests, and seen the number of volunteers in Yorkshire rise to more than 700.

But with more people waiting to join, it vitally needs more volunteer drivers and host to give up a few hours a month to help provide a lifeline to those who have so little contact with others.

Mrs Rance said: “We plan to expand the reach of our invaluable work and double the number of older people we support.

“In order to do this we are calling on volunteers to spare just a few hours each month, and also encouraging local health and wellbeing boards to support us by prioritising the increasing issue of loneliness in old age”.

Visit www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk or call Mary Robinson on 01535 632592..