A chartered legal executive who has spent her career helping elderly and vulnerable clients is launching a voluntary group to give older, lonely people in Herne Bay and Whitstable the chance to socialise and make friends.
Val Prosser, who lives in Herne Bay, is part of a growing network of volunteers who give their time to Contact the Elderly, the only national charity that focuses solely on tackling loneliness and isolation among the over-75s.
The charity organises free monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups of older people who live alone. As co-ordinator of the new Whitstable and Herne Bay group, Val is now seeking volunteer drivers and tea party hosts. She is also inviting anyone aged 75 or over, who lives alone and is interested in coming along to the tea parties, to get in touch.
“The tea parties provide vital contact for those who live alone and is an opportunity for them to meet others and build lasting friendships,” said Val, who works in the Elderly Client Team of Kent law firm Furley Page.
“As part of the work I do at Furley Page, I often meet older people in their homes who are extremely lonely and have very little contact with others from one week to the next. Sunday afternoons, which is when most community services for older people are not available, seem to be the most difficult time for them.”
Volunteer drivers are needed once a month on a Sunday afternoon. “They will collect the same elderly person each month to allow a close bond to develop,” said Val. Volunteer hosts across Herne Bay and Whitstable are required to provide tea and cakes in their home one or two Sunday afternoons a year.
Added Val: “By volunteering, people can really help make a difference to lonely elderly people and bring them companionship through regular social contact.
“It can also be very rewarding for the volunteers. Many develop strong, long-lasting friendships with tea party guests. Over the months and years acquaintances turn into friends and loneliness is replaced by companionship.”
For more information about Contact the Elderly, visit www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk. To volunteer for the Herne Bay and Whitstable group, or to take part in the tea parties, contact Val Prosser on 01227 763939.
As part of Furley Page’s Elderly Client Team, Val specialises in helping people who are becoming confused and are struggling to look after their affairs, or who may be living with dementia.
She is also a member of Solicitors for the Elderly, a national organisation of lawyers who provide specialist legal advice for older or vulnerable people, their families and carers.
Notes to editors:
Contact the Elderly
Founded in 1965, Contact the Elderly has over 500 groups nationwide, providing regular, consistent and vital friendship links every month to nearly 4,200 older people, aged 75 and over, who live alone without family or friends nearby. The charity keeps its groups small, with the same individuals meeting every month so that guests and volunteers can develop lasting and fulfilling friendships.
For details visit www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk
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