A voluntary group which gives older, lonely people in Herne Bay and Whitstable the chance to socialise and make friends is marking its fifth successful year with a full programme of free Sunday tea parties for over-75s.
Herne Bay resident Val Prosser, a Senior Associate with Kent law firm Furley Page, who has spent her career helping elderly and vulnerable clients, became a volunteer of Contact the Elderly in August 2013 and launched the local group in 2014.
She co-ordinates a team of tea party hosts and drivers 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 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.
“As part of the work I do at Furley Page, I often meet older people who are extremely lonely and have very little contact with others. Sunday afternoons, when most community services for older people are not available, seem to be the most difficult time for them.”
Each month a different host provides tea and cakes in a variety of venues across the Herne Bay and Whitstable area. The volunteer drivers aim to collect the same elderly person each month to allow close bonds to develop. There are no costs or obligation to the elderly guests.
Val said that her team of volunteers found it rewarding to offer elderly people companionship and regular social contact.
“Many develop strong, long-lasting friendships with tea party guests,” she said. “Acquaintances turn into friends and loneliness is replaced by companionship. One guest said that it gives her something to look forward to each month and it has made a real difference to her life.”
Val is always keen to welcome new volunteer drivers and tea party hosts. She is also inviting anyone aged 75 or over, who lives alone and would like to attend the tea parties, to get in touch.
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, email Val Prosser at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 01227 763939.
Below is list of dates, hosts and venues for 2018 for the Herne Bay and Whitstable Group. Tea parties usually start at 3pm.
A lunch was recently held for this group at The Heron in Herne Bay and a total of 16 guests and volunteers enjoyed a tasty roast dinner and had a lovely afternoon celebrating the New Year together.
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.
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