Elderly charity appeals for volunteer drivers

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A charity that helps older people enjoy friendships and avoid loneliness is calling for more volunteers for its Brechin group.

Contact the Elderly, which celebrates its Golden Jubilee this year, is renowned for its free monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for over 75s at risk of isolation.

The charity’s much-loved Brechin group now urgently requires volunteer hosts and drivers to ensure its excellent work continues.

Hosts generously welcome a group of guests and drivers (between eight to 12 people) into their home once a year, and provide a tea party. Drivers collect guests from their home, attend a wonderful Contact the Elderly tea party with them before taking them safely home.

Contact the Elderly hopes to develop its pool of drivers who are able to donate a Sunday afternoon of their time, up to once a month, to ensure guests can attend the events.

Guests are over 75s who live alone and, although they can walk independently, require support getting out and about and meeting people.

Betty, who has been attending the tea parties for over 10 years, commented: “Contact the Elderly is one of the greatest things anyone has ever told me about. You just couldn’t meet better people and the tea parties are just lovely. It has made the biggest difference to my life. I look forward to them every month and now I tell other people about it as well.”

Jean Malcolm, Angus area organiser for the charity, said: “The Brechin group has seen countless Sunday afternoons of fun and laughter, and the start of many great friendships, for many years now. Our guests love the meet-ups and often tell us it is one of the things they most look forward to.

“This is all thanks to the time and effort of our fantastic volunteer hosts and drivers. But life changes and unfortunately some of our volunteers have had to move away, creating an urgent need for new hosts and drivers. Most guests are unable to get out and about themselves, and drivers give them the invaluable gift of an opportunity to enjoy friendships. Many volunteers forge lovely friendships themselves with guests, and tell us they get back at least as much as they put in.

“Loneliness is a huge problem among our ageing population and there may be people in your own street in Brechin who feel very isolated. Volunteering for a charity like Contact the Elderly is very rewarding, and an enjoyable way to help people in your community.”

Across Scotland, Contact the Elderly supports 764 people aged 75 and over through its network of 1,035 volunteers.

To find out how you can volunteer with Contact the Elderly, become a guest or if you think someone you know could benefit from becoming a guest, please get in touch with Jean Malcolm on 01356 660238 or jeanmalcolm@btinternet.com.