Volunteers needed for tea and company

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Afternoon tea is always a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon — but what if you could indulge in a spot of cake and help an older person in your neighbourhood?

Across Scotland, Contact the Elderly supports 764 people aged 75 or over who can walk independently, but may need help getting out and meeting people.

The charity organises tea parties, which take place once a month in the homes of volunteers — but with an ever growing waiting list, the charity desperately needs more volunteer hosts and drivers from Glasgow’s southside.

The Extra was invited along to an established tea group in North Lanarkshire, where guests settled down for cake and a chat, then an afternoon of card games and telling jokes.

Group co-ordinator and driver Claire Smith (29) explained that volunteer roles vary — but that it becomes “like meeting up with friends” no matter what your age.

She told The Extra: “I work with the volunteer hosts to come up with a schedule of tea parties, and then I pick up a guest once a month and take them along.

“I had been looking for a volunteer opportunity for a while, and heard Contact the Elderly were looking too — chatting and drinking tea once a month had me sold.

“The group I work with is mixed, age-wise — and I’d say for anyone younger interested in volunteering, it’s a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and get to know different characters.”

Volunteer driver Janice Dickson commented: “In my younger days it wasn’t called volunteering, it was simply helping others.

“Both my ladies have family who visit and look after them, but they say it’s nice to chat with someone outside the family — we have right good laugh and put the world to right.”

Anyone available one Sunday a month — or who knows someone who might benefit — is asked to contact Margaret Oliver, west of Scotland development officer, by calling 01389 605915 or emailing margaret.oliver@contact-the-elderly.org.uk.

Margaret added: “Our tea parties show that, with a bit of effort and kindness, we can provide a lifeline of friendship and nobody has to feel alone. We’re here to bring people together.”