URGENT CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS TO SUPPORT ISOLATED OLDER PEOPLE

A charity is urgently appealing for new volunteers to help isolated older people living alone in Stoke-on-Trent.

Contact the Elderly, a UK charity dedicated to tackling loneliness and isolation among older people, has been providing monthly social gatherings for the over 75s in Stoke-on-Trent for over two years.

The Stoke-on-Trent group meet on the third Sunday of every month – events take place on Sundays when most other services for older people are unavailable. Through the group, strong bonds have been formed and friendships made – and 95% of the older guests that the charity helps say they now have something to look forward to.

Without the support of the local community, the service will unlikely be able to continue. The charity needs help in the following areas: volunteer drivers, who can spare a few hours one Sunday a month to collect and accompany older guests to their event and volunteer hosts who can welcome a small group into their home for tea and cake once or twice a year.

Steph Allcock, a Contact the Elderly volunteer in Stoke-on-Trent, urged others in the community to get involved. She said, “I was prompted to volunteer for Contact the Elderly following the loss of my grandma. I felt that I hadn’t done enough to spend more time with her even though she had a loving family always popping in to visit her, there would still be days where she wouldn’t speak to a single person and I found that very saddening.

“It’s amazing to see the difference the tea parties can make to the older guests. We have all become firm friends and look forward to catching up each month. Even if you can only host one party a year, that’s two hours out of 8,760. It will make you feel great, having a real sense of just doing something nice for the sake of being nice.”

Hayley Stokes, Contact the Elderly Support Officer for Stoke-on-Trent, said: “Our older guests are isolated from family and friends and aren’t able to get out and about much, so our monthly tea parties are incredibly important to them and they look forward to each event immensely.

“To keep events running monthly, we need volunteer drivers and hosts to come forward in Stoke-on-Trent to support this vital service. Without the help of volunteers, this service will likely be suspended cutting off the only contact that some of our older guests have each month. If you feel you could spare a few hours a month or even once or twice in a year, we’d love to hear from you.”

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for Contact the Elderly, or if you know someone aged 75 and over who is living alone in Stoke-on-Trent who could benefit from coming along to a tea party, get in touch with the charity by calling 0800 716 543 (freephone) or emailing hayley.stokes@contact-the-elderly.org.uk