A charity is hoping to launch a new group in Laurencekirk to alleviate social isolation among the local older population.

Contact the Elderly is working in partnership with the Mearns and Coastal Healthy Living Network to establish one of its tea party groups and is appealing to people living in the area to offer a small amount of time to make an immeasurable difference to the lives of older people in the community.

With established and well-loved free monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties already underway in Forfar, Montrose, Brechin, Kirriemuir and Carnoustie, Contact the Elderly offers those aged 75 and over who live alone tea, cake and, most importantly, company. The charities have already identified a number of people who would benefit from the gatherings but are keen to hear from more older people in the area who might like to become involved.

Jean Malcolm, Volunteer Coordinator at Contact the Elderly, said:

“Our parties are treasured by the volunteers and older people who enjoy them month after month. It’s lovely to spend an afternoon together, out of the house, sharing stories with people you might not usually meet.

“We have volunteers from all ages and backgrounds and it’s great to hear how much they value the friendships they strike through Contact the Elderly. They find it incredibly rewarding and it is a chance for younger people as well to reconnect with their local community which can be difficult in today’s busy world. The older people who join the parties take home a feeling of community and recent memories to enjoy.

“The sad truth is a lot of older people are alone and this can have a terrible impact on their lives. They say tea is the best medicine and in this instance that is certainly true so I would like to appeal to the older, and not yet older, people of Laurencekirk to help us get one of tea parties off the ground.”

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. A host’s home must have no more than a few steps to enter and a downstairs toilet. A volunteer driver collects one or two guests once a month and joins them at the party before returning them safely home. The charity is also looking for a bank of reserve drivers.

To find out more about volunteering or becoming a guest of Contact the Elderly, contact Jean on jeanmalcolm@btinternet.com or 01356 660238 or Morna O’May on morna.omay@contact-the-elderly.org.uk or 01786 871264.

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