A charity is urgently appealing for volunteers in Harrow to help older people who have been unable to socialise since the Covid pandemic.
Re-engage, which is dedicated to ending loneliness and isolation for those aged 75 and over in Harrow and across the UK, is re-building its network of free Sunday tea parties throughout the UK and needs co-ordinators willing to spend a few hours to oversee these gatherings.
The charity currently has around 25 volunteers – who regularly provide a location for tea, sandwiches and cake – and older people in the town. These guests are driven to and from the tea parties. But there is a shortage of co-ordinators in some areas including, .
Meryl Davies, CEO of Re-engage said: “Before the pandemic our monthly tea parties provided a vital lifeline for older people who barely saw another person from one week to the next.
“Two years of lockdowns and uncertainty have left many of them lacking the confidence to get back into the outside world. We want them to start socialising again so they do not feel they have been left behind.
“But to do that we need local community leaders prepared to devote a few hours which can change so many lives.
“Our tea parties are the perfect remedy for those feeling isolated, probably even more so since the pandemic gripped the country, and we want to provide a service that will bring some happiness to their lives. Without co-ordinators we can’t do that.
“Loneliness is a serious health issue and with the over-75s one of the fastest growing populations it needs urgent attention.”
Mary, who is partially blind and was recently widowed after being married for 60 years, said: “I have no friends and I haven’t got a big family. I can’t go out much, so I really look forward to the Sunday outings.
“I can’t tell you how much I enjoy them. I don’t know what I would do without the tea parties. If I don’t have them, I have nothing.”
And Pat, 90, said: “The people who make these tea parties happen are very special. Without them they simply wouldn’t exist. They open up their homes to us. Most of them have children and jobs but still give up their time one Sunday a month, which is just wonderful – so public-spirited.”
If you would like to become a co-ordinator for Re-engage, which has run its monthly tea parties in England, Scotland and Wales for more than 50 years, please contact the charity at: Become a tea party group coordinator (reengage.org.uk) . Or call: 0207 240 0630