National charity Contact the Elderly, which helps fight loneliness among older people, is calling for more volunteers as a second group is launching in Peterborough.
The charity, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, aims to relieve the acute loneliness of isolated older people aged 75 and over by running monthly tea parties within local communities.
Volunteers are able to provide the much-needed contact to make new friendships with other local older people and younger volunteers.
A monthly tea party can make a difference to someone’s life with volunteers, such as Nyree Ambarchian in the Peterborough group, making a substantial difference to the lives of over-75s in the local area.
Nyree, from Werrington, said: “Every month I see the difference that the tea parties we hold here in Peterborough make to our guests but unfortunately there are many more isolated older people in the area.
“As a result of this demand, we’re thrilled to be setting up a second group to enable more guests to benefit from the tea parties.”
More volunteers are now being called for the second group to act as drivers or hosts for the tea parties and requires only a few hours of committment each month.
The Peterborough group, including June McSparron and Daphne Guthrie, was recently joined at a tea party by the city’s MP Stewart Jackson who said: “I was delighted to attend the tea party in Peterborough and get a sense first-hand of how important these monthly meet-ups are for isolated, older people in my local area.
“Loneliness is such a key issue for government and I fully support the group in my constituency that is providing much-needed friendship to isolated older people.
“I would urge anyone with a few spare hours on one Sunday every month to get in touch with the charity and volunteer to help launch the much-needed second group in Peterborough.”
With almost 600 groups and 7,700 volunteers across the country, the charity, in its 50th year, is appealing for more volunteers and local funding to access older people, many of whom do not have regular face-to-face contact with anyone other than their carer and the postman.
Mary Rance, CEO, Contact the Elderly, said: “We’re proud to be celebrating our 50th anniversary but demand for our work is ever increasing.
“The number of isolated over-75s is growing and there are still one million lonely older people in England, Scotland and Wales that need our help.
“We are extremely thankful to our incredible volunteers who have helped us achieve this landmark. Contact the Elderly has seen first-hand the difference that volunteering just once a month can make to our older guests.
“Incredible friendships have formed between younger volunteers and older guests and their health and happiness has improved as a result.”
For more information on how to volunteer with Contact the Elderly or if you want to come along to a tea party, visit: www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk or free phone 0800 716543.