Banish the blues bid

Contact the Elderly, the only national charity solely dedicated to tackling loneliness and isolation among older people, is launching an appeal for volunteers living in Driffield to offer a lifeline of friendship to older people in their local area.

The charity, which organises monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups of elderly people, aged 75 and above, who live alone, with the support of volunteers, is launching its appeal ahead of a predicted increase in demand for its service at this time of year.

Contact the Elderly is looking for local volunteers who are able to spare just a few hours each month to drive older guests to the monthly tea parties in Driffield - and enjoy a cuppa and a cake themselves! The charity also needs volunteer hosts who would be able to welcome a small group of older people and volunteers into their own home for tea just once or twice a year.

Contact the Elderly’s Executive Officer, North & Midlands, Mary Robinson, said: “Many people can relate to feeling a bit flat once summer’s over, but for very elderly people, the shorter days and worse weather can mean they become even more isolated, which can impact on general wellbeing and health. We find that our service becomes even more of a lifeline in the winter months, particularly as for many of our older guests, the Contact the Elderly gatherings are their only social outlet.”

Once a month, each older guest is collected from their home by a volunteer driver, and is taken to a volunteer host’s home, where they join a small group for tea, chat and companionship. The group is warmly welcomed by a different host each month, but the charity’s drivers and older guests remain the same. This ensures that over the months and years, acquaintances turn into friends and loneliness is replaced by companionship.

Mary added: “To meet the increased demand for our service in winter, we’re making an appeal for volunteers in Driffield to help older people to beat those winter blues. 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! Being a host requires a commitment of just a couple of hours, once or twice a year, and anyone who has a downstairs toilet and a decent sized teapot is eligible! 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.”

Driffield residents interested in volunteering for Contact the Elderly as a driver once a month, or as a host once or twice a year, can contact Mary Robinson, Executive Officer, North & Midlands, on 01535 632592 or mary.robinson@contact-the-elderly.org.uk