A charity working to ease loneliness among older people has issued an urgent appeal for volunteers to support its West Lothian groups.
Re-engage, formerly known as Contact the Elderly, tackles social isolation through regular Sunday afternoon tea parties and other activities.
The monthly events are usually held in a local host’s home and guests are chauffeured to and from the gatherings by volunteer drivers – a crucial service that solves any transport worries for those who have difficulty getting out and about.
The West Lothian groups are part of a network of more than 140 tea party groups in Scotland. More than 1000 guests lives are often transformed through this simple solution of some kindness and company over a cup of tea. There are 5 groups in West Lothian but there is also a waiting list of guests. They are currently experiencing a shortage of drivers.
Lorna Dunbar, the charity’s support officer for the area says: “Social isolation is one of society’s biggest problems, especially among the older generation, but we see the huge difference social events like ours can make to someone who perhaps doesn’t have the chance to interact with others as much as they would like.
“We believe everyone should have the opportunity of a social life, no matter how old they and we’d really love to hear from locals who can help us enrich the lives of the older generation in their communities.”
Drivers are asked to devote just a few hours one Sunday afternoon a month to the charity.
“It’s not a huge commitment if you’ve got a spare Sunday afternoon and for anyone new to volunteering it’s an ideal way to get involved,” said Lorna.
“Guests are usually over 75 and our volunteers are generally much younger so it’s also a great way to bring the generations together. I’m confident locals will step forward to help us out and I can guarantee they’ll get as much out of it as the guests – it’s just so satisfying to see the difference you can make to the life of someone who is feeling isolated.”
To find out more about becoming a volunteer or guest of Re-engage, please contact Lorna Dunbar at firstname.lastname@example.org or tel 01738 730249.