‘Lifeline of Friendship’ in Somer Valley – Contact The Elderly

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The first Sunday tea offering a lifeline of friendship to lonely older people took place on Sunday 10th August in Midsomer Norton and was a great success.

CTEPart of a national initiative led by Contact the Elderly, the charity solely dedicated to tackling loneliness and isolation among older people, the new group will cover the whole Somer Valley and has a programme of monthly events in place for the next twelve months.  .

The charity, which aims to relieve the acute loneliness and isolation of people over the age of 75, organises monthly Sunday tea parties for small groups and volunteers within their local community throughout the country.  Each older person is collected from their home by a volunteer driver and taken to a volunteer host’s home for the afternoon.  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.

The older members of the new group, were welcomed warmly to their first tea party held at the house of new volunteer hosts  Sonja and Mike in Midsomer Norton. The Mayor of Midsomer Norton, Paul Myers, was in attendance in his capacity as Trustee of the Midsomer Norton Community Trust which is currently coordinating the group. He said of the first party “it was great to see people from all over the Somer Valley coming together and having such a great time – it is such a fantastic initiative. ”

New research released earlier this year has highlighted the link between loneliness and ill-health in later life, including depression, certain heart conditions and even Alzheimer’s disease.  Contact the Elderly remains steadfast in its belief that its monthly Sunday tea parties, which offer a regular and vital friendship link every month, exist as one of the most effective preventative measures of tackling this growing issue.

Contact the Elderly’s Regional Development Officer for Bristol, Bath and Somerset Clare Wilde, said: “Research shows just how damaging and depressing being lonely in later life can be, but happily the new friendship group in the Somer Valley  can go some way towards tackling this issue on a practical local level”.

“Anyone interested in either volunteering for, or joining this new group, or one of the other 35 Contact the Elderly groups across Bristol, Bath and Somerset please do get in touch with me by ringing 0117 9395747 or by email at clare.wilde@contact-the-elderly.org.uk .”

Anyone interested in volunteering for Contact the Elderly, or people over the age of 75 who would like to find out more about joining one of the charity’s local friendship groups, can contact Clare on  0117 9395747 or email clare.wilde@contact-the-elderly.org.uk