A charity that supports elderly people in Yateley has appealed for lonely pensioners to come forward so it can re-launch a tea party service it was forced to close
A charity that provides support to elderly people living in Yateley has had to close one of its services.
For the past 20 years Yateley Neighbourcare has run monthly tea parties to encourage older residents to get out of the house, but this has now ceased owing to a lack of use of the service.
Angela Davies, from the charity, said there must be lots of people in the town who are lonely and isolated and has urged residents or neighbours to get in touch so the free tea parties can be re-launched.
Mrs Davies said: “It is a friendly group of people and it has been going on for years.
“We need at least five or six people to run the service but recently we have only had one or two show an interest and it has not been worth carrying on.
“I have done everything I can think of to find people including visiting the doctor’s surgery, but it is very difficult to find where these residents are and urge them to come on board.
“We want to get it going again, there must be people around who would enjoy it.”
Andy Whitaker, chairman of Yateley Town Council, is supporting the charity’s campaign. He has been circulating emails to colleagues and members of the community to prompt interest in people being taken out for tea.
Yateley Neighbourcare is predominately a volunteer car service that has been transporting the elderly and disabled to medical appointments for the last 35 years.
The charity also organises monthly afternoon tea parties for small groups of people aged 75 plus who live alone. Each older person is collected from their home by a volunteer driver and taken to a volunteer host’s home for an afternoon of tea, cakes and biscuits.
The group is warmly welcomed by a different host each month, but the drivers remain the same which means they become friends with the passengers and loneliness is replaced with companionship.
The tea parties bring people of all ages together, develop fulfilling friendships and support networks and give everyone involved something to look forward to each month.
The tea party idea came from Contact the Elderly – the national charity solely dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation among older people.
Contact the Elderly supports research that has highlighted a link between loneliness and ill-health in later life, including depression, certain heart conditions and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Mrs Davies said the afternoons were important as it got older people out of the house for a few hours.
“I am in my 70s and I know I would not want to go into a room on my own full of strange faces,” Mrs Davies added.
“It takes a bit of courage.
“But unlike coffee clubs, with our tea parties we pick up residents and take them to a house as a group so they feel more at ease.”
The charity has also attempted to run a similar lunch party for older men in the community.
Residents were picked up once a month and taken for a pub meal but unfortunately this too has fizzled out.
An elderly woman from Blackwater who had used the tea party service for many years said: “It would be lovely to get it started up again.
“I really enjoyed our monthly tea meetings and I felt most welcome in private homes compared to other clubs.”
Anyone interested in going along to a tea party can contact Mrs Davies on 01276 508965.