National charity urgently needs local volunteers

Can you help to alleviate loneliness of older people?

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To find out more and to get an application pack, call Freephone 0800 716 543 or email London Development Officer: alternatively, you can check website

Microloan Foundation

Contact the Elderly is a small national charity, founded in 1965, that aims to alleviate the acute loneliness of older people (aged 70+) who live on their own by organising monthly tea parties.

They are giving those who have little or no support from family or friends and who can’t get out on their own some regular companionship and something to look forward to - a real lifeline for people who spend day after day on their own with nobody to talk to.

There are 60 groups in London at present, each consisting of about 6-8 older people, 3-4 volunteer drivers and up to 12 hosts.

The concept is simple but effective: One Sunday afternoon a month small groups of older people are being picked up by their volunteer drivers and taken to a tea party at the home of a volunteer host (each month at a different place). They will enjoy something that most of us take for granted – a cup of tea, a slice of cake and a chat in a friend’s house.

“We are currently in urgent need of new volunteer hosts and drivers in the Hammersmith/ Chiswick area, so if you think you would enjoy being a volunteer driver (spending just a few hours each month) or a host, hosting a Sunday afternoon tea party just once or twice a year, then please get in touch,” says the charity's London Development Officer Maike Neuhaus.

“It doesn’t matter how big your car is, as long as you are reliable and can commit yourself to a few hours each month. As a host, all you need is a downstairs toilet, easy access into your house (or garden) and enough space to seat a group of about 12 people. The size of the room doesn’t matter so much, as long as everybody can sit comfortably. In fact, from the feedback we are getting from our groups, small and cosy works really well.”

June 26, 2007