A DEDICATED volunteer is urging other altruistic men and women in the borough to help relieve the loneliness and isolation elderly members of the community feel on a day-to-day basis.

Katy Turner has been organising gatherings for more than two years in Darlington, bringing together older generations for monthly tea parties.

The informal meetings arranged as part of Contact the Elderly’s charity remit encourage guests to come together and enjoy refreshments while making new friends.

However, the charity are in desperate need of support and are calling on would-be volunteers to help the Darlington group.

Ms Turner is both the host and driver for the town’s group and hopes more elderly people can be helped by the service should more volunteers join the cause.

She said: “We have eight wonderful guests, who tell us how much the group means to them and how much they look forward to the monthly tea parties.

“Our drivers and hosts enjoy it just as much as our guests and we have formed such a lovely friendship group.”

The Northern Echo:

The selfless volunteer added: “Our tea parties are full of laughter and lovely chat over delicious cakes and tea, and each time I am left with a really warm glow.

“Our guests rarely get out and about so this is something they look forward to every month and it’s nice knowing we are giving something back to our local community.

“As a volunteer, I get as much out of the group as our guests do and I think that is because there is no them and us, just a group of people, from different background and ages, all coming together.”

Each Contact the Elderly group meet one Sunday a month when other services for older people are often unavailable and can welcome up to eight guests per tea party.

Help via volunteers is needed across three areas: a group coordinator to help plan the monthly events, hosts to invite a small group of volunteers and guests into their home and drivers to escort guests from their home to and from the tea parties.

Volunteers are asked to spare around four hours a month on a Sunday afternoon to help out.

  • Those interested in becoming a volunteer for Contact the Elderly can contact the charity by calling 0800-716543 or email valerie.walker@contact-the-elderly-org.uk
  • Alternatively, relatives or friends of someone aged 75 or over who is living alone in the borough and may benefit from joining the tea party can also contact the charity.