Charity plea to have a chat and drink tea

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A Chesterfield charity has called for local volunteers to extend the hand of friendship to lonely pensioners.

Contact the Elderly – the charity dedicated to tackling loneliness and isolation among older people – has invited older residents in Chesterfield to come to tea one Sunday afternoon a month for a few hours of companionship.

In order for this to be possible, the charity is also urgently appealing for volunteers to spare just a few hours each month to help with the running of local tea parties – and enjoy a cuppa themselves.

The charity aims to relieve the acute loneliness of isolated older people, aged 75 and above, who live alone.

Each older guest is collected from their home by a volunteer driver and taken to a volunteer host’s home, where they meet with a small group for tea, chat and friendship.

The group is warmly welcomed by a different host each month, but the drivers remain the same which means that over the months and years, acquaintances turn into friends and loneliness is replaced by companionship.

Contact the Elderly’s Derbyshire development officer Angela Handforth, said: “Activities for people aged 75 and above are normally limited to weekdays, so Sunday can be a particularly long and difficult day. Our tea parties are sometimes the only social outing our guests have in a month, so they can make a real difference.

“However, there’s a shortage of volunteers in the area. 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 once or 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.”

Residents in the Chesterfield aged 75 and above, who live alone and who are interested in joining a Contact the Elderly group and residents interested in volunteering can contact Angela Handforth on 0114 2302343 or email angela.handforth@contact-the-elderly.org.uk.