A charity that combats loneliness and social isolation among the elderly is searching for guests to attend its monthly free tea parties in Kings Langley.
Re-engage’s tea parties take place once a month on a Sunday, and the charity is looking for people aged 75 and over to attend.
Janice Fairfield, the local tea party group co-ordinator, believes that many elderly people have lost their confidence to go out since COVID-19.
She said: Our events are so important to them [the elderly]. We must do all we can to encourage them to come along and re-build friendships.
Janice spoke about a tea party guest in his 90s who hadn’t left the house for 18 months who really enjoyed himself at the party, “they just want to mix with their peers and talk about things that are familiar to them”.
Janice added: “We usually have around ten guests who are driven to and from the tea parties, mostly they are women, and we would like to see more men coming along too.”
Pat, an 89-year-old grandmother of seven, joined the tea party last year. She had relocated from Israel to England to assist her daughter in caring for her twins.
Pat said: “When a friend mentioned them to me, I was bit hesitant about going along, but I’m so glad I did. I have a great time.
“My husband died a long time ago so I’m by myself, although one of my daughters regularly sees me to get the shopping and so on.
“I wasn’t sure something like a tea party was for me, but the volunteers are so fantastic – they are an absolute joy.
“I Iike to sit and listen to all the interesting conversations going on around me particularly concerning events which I know nothing about because I was living in Israel at the time.
“So, thanks to Re-engage I’m coming into contact with a world I didn’t know before and that’s making me feel I am a part of it.”
Tim, Lark 40, has been a volunteer driver and occasional tea party host for Re-engage since 2018. He is managing director of a marketing company.
Tim said: “The eldest in the group is 95 but you’re never too old to have fun and make friends. All our guests just relax and just enjoy the occasion. Some of them do lead solitary lives because they don’t have friends or family living close by so they really look forward to the tea parties.
“When I host, I get my four nieces and nephews, who are aged three to seven, to join us and the guests really like to have them there. It’s bridging the generation gap in a very good way.
“Being a driver is an important role because many of the guests have mobility problems. I get a lot out of it because it’s quite something to see the smiles on their faces when they get together to talk and eat nice food. I feel like I’ve achieved something.”
The charity is also looking to recruit more volunteer drivers and hosts, as well as guests.
If you are interested in joining a tea party or if you know someone aged 75 and over who is living alone and could benefit from attending call freephone 0800 716 543 or email firstname.lastname@example.org