Older people’s groups expand

The Laurencekirk groups enjoy their afternoon tea
The Laurencekirk groups enjoy their afternoon tea

Thirty volunteers and guests from Laurencekirk groups of the charity Re-engage, until recently known as Contact the Elderly, gathered for afternoon tea at Brechin Castle Centre.

The organisation started the year with one group and, due to the efforts of co-ordinator Jane Galloway, there are now two. They are looking to expand further with ever-increasing demand.

The purpose of the charity is to alleviate loneliness in older people through free monthly tea parties.

Volunteer drivers collect and accompany guests to the teas, which are provided by volunteer hosts.

Teas are normally in a host’s home, but any venue will be considered. It could be a workplace, church or an organisation facilitating the visit.

This year guests were treated to afternoon tea at Glenesk Hotel, Edzell, and RM Condor, as well as being ‘adopted’ by staff and pupils at Fettercairn Primary.

The groups are not confined to Laurencekirk and also cover an area from Edzell to St Cyrus.

They are not registered with the Care Commission and do not undertake any caring duties.

Guests are normally over 75, but the age requirement can be adjusted to suit circumstances.

Area organiser for the charity, Jean Malcolm, said: “It is a great way of making new friends for both guests and volunteers and teas are held on a Sunday afternoon from 2-4pm.

“Volunteering with us is not really onerous as drivers can drive once a month or as reserves, and hosts usually vollunteer once a year.

“Not a great deal of time is involved, but it makes a huge difference to lonely people who suddenly have something to look forward to.

“I do hope people will consider helping as loneliness has been identified as a contributor to ill health, both physical and mental.”

For more details about volunteering, email info@reengage.org.uk or call Jean Malcolm on 01356 660238.