Brechin woman helps raise awareness of contact group

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A local Brechin lady has joined forces with Contact the Elderly, a charity which tackles acute loneliness among isolated, older people, to record a festive message for an electronic Christmas Advent calendar, which aims to raise awareness of the organisation’s vital work.

Contact the Elderly, which organises free, monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups of older guests and volunteers in local communities, including in Angus, has launched a Christmas Advent calendar to help recruit new volunteers to the cause.

Mary, aged 89, who is an older guest in one of the Angus Contact the Elderly groups, has recorded a message for Tuesday, December 13 in which she chats about Hogmanay.

Each day, members of the public will be able to view the calendar and listen to heart-warming audio stories from the charity’s older guests who attend the tea parties, as well as the famous voices of ex-EastEnders actress Lacey Turner and Liz Smith, who played Nana in The Royle Family. Contact the Elderly’s Founder and Chairman, Trevor Lyttleton MBE, has also recorded a message for the calendar.

The charity is looking to recruit new volunteers in the area. Volunteer drivers collect the elderly people from their homes and accompany them to the tea parties while volunteer hosts hold the social gatherings in their homes.  

Contact the Elderly’s East of Scotland Development Officer, Morna O’May, said: “The charity is committed to offering a lifeline of friendship to the oldest and loneliest people, but our hopes of extending this lifeline to even more elderly people in Angus are currently fading due to a real shortage of volunteers in the region.

“Anyone who can spare a couple of hours one Sunday a month, has a driving licence, a car and a capacity for drinking tea, is eligible! And for those interested in becoming a host, it would just involve a couple of hours twice a year. It’s not a big commitment, and our volunteers genuinely get as much out of the experience as our older guests, so I’m calling for anyone who is interested in giving something back to their community to please get in touch with me as soon as possible.”

Contact the Elderly’s Christmas Advent calendar is being distributed to existing volunteers, corporate supporters and organisations and individuals who refer the older people they work with to Contact the Elderly. The charity is then urging recipients to share the web link with friends, family and colleagues, so others can view the calendar and listen to the stories and learn more about the charity’s work.

The Contact the Elderly Christmas Advent calendar is available to view at the following web link: www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk/christmas-countdown

Local residents interested in volunteering for Contact the Elderly once a month as a volunteer driver, or once or twice a year as a volunteer host, should contact Morna O’May, East of Scotland Development Officer, on 01786 871264 or email morna.o’may@contact-the-elderly.org.uk