A guest blog by Charlotte, who needs your help:
My friend Kathleen recently turned 100.
“What’s your secret?” I asked as we tucked into tea and cake at a special party to celebrate her landmark birthday.
“I always eat wholemeal bread,” came the reply.
Kathleen is one of nine elderly people I really enjoy chatting to and spending time with on a monthly basis at our local Contact The Elderly tea parties.
Once a month myself and other volunteers pick up lonely elderly people in the North West London area who are unable to leave the house by themselves and take them to a tea party.
The parties take place at volunteer host’s houses between 3pm and 5pm – where guests are given tea, sandwiches and cakes and get the chance to chat. Our elderly friends really benefit from this social interaction and it clearly makes a massive difference to their lives.
It is also a lovely experience for the volunteers too, who not only get to enjoy tea and cake, but also all the amazing stories from years gone by.
Kathleen was born an only child in Dollis Hill in 1911 and worked for many years as a teacher in Willesden and Harrow. She has endless stories about travelling the world. In 1936 she made her first visit to Hamburg and then travelled on to Berlin where the Olympics were being held. Since then she has visited most of the European capitals, as well as the USA, Canada and Japan. It is a real privilege to spend time with her.
We rely on the goodwill of our drivers and also the hosts who throw open their homes to elderly guests for the tea parties but with nine elderly members now and not enough volunteers we are struggling.
We are now looking for new voluntary drivers to help pick guests up and also hosts willing to arrange a tea party perhaps once or twice a year.
Many of our guests are frail so any host home would need to have easy ground-floor access, a downstairs toilet available and a space large enough to seat around nine elderly guests comfortably. There will also be about five volunteers in attendance.
If you can help then please email or call 0208 208 2021