Northern Ireland news

Over 75s in Belfast invited to join free monthly tea parties

Contact the Elderly is organising afternoon tea parties in Belfast

A CHARITY is offering a "lifeline of company, cake and conversation" to elderly people struggling with loneliness.

Contact the Elderly is organising afternoon tea parties in a bid to "make a real difference to the lives of older people".

The charity, which first ran tea parties in London more than 50 years ago, is now looking for volunteers to help with the initiative in Belfast.

It is aimed at people aged 75 and over, who live alone, and is hoped it will help tackle the issue of social isolation among the elderly.

Guests are collected from their home by a volunteer driver and taken to a host’s home, where they meet with a small group for tea, chat and friendship.

The group is welcomed by a different volunteer host each month, but the drivers remain the same which means that over the months and years, acquaintances turn into friends and loneliness is replaced by companionship.

Jenny Bright from Contact the Elderly said they are delighted to be launching in Belfast.

"We are confident that the Belfast group will be a great success, and we’re so pleased to have a number of local volunteers who are ready to help," she said.

"For older people who live alone, Sundays can be particularly long and difficult.

"These tea parties give people a chance to get together with others, make new friends, eat delicious cakes and enjoy a cup of tea.

"The monthly events make a real difference to the lives of those in the group and we would encourage anyone interested in coming along, or those who would like to refer someone, to get in touch."

For further information about becoming a volunteer or joining a tea party, call 0800 716543 or email jenny.bright@contact-the-elderly.org.uk.

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