Milton Lilbourne Village Hall, 9 December, 2.00pm
A local branch of Contact the Elderly (Swindon 2), is aiming to put some fun back into Christmas for lonely elderly people. The branch will host a special Christmas tea party on 9 December at Milton Lilbourne Village Hall, nr Pewsey, featuring entertainment by some of the Wroughton Ellendune Players.
The party, for approximately 30 people, is the culmination of a year of tea parties arranged by the group whose aim is to bring together lonely elderly people with local residents and volunteers.
Eileen Norris, co-ordinator for the Swindon 2 branch of Contact the Elderly explains: “Contact the Elderly is the only national charity solely dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation among older people.
“Christmas can be one of the loneliest times for elderly people who have no family in the area and so we try to arrange something extra special at this time of year. In the past we have hosted tea with Santa at a local garden centre, a visit to the pantomime and after a particularly busy year of fundraising we managed a sit down meal at a local golf club. Whatever we do, those involved have a great time and establish good friendships that help alleviate the loneliness of not having family in the area. It’s wonderful to see our work having a real impact.”
Contact the Elderly volunteers work year long organising monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups of older people who live alone. Volunteer drivers and hosts give generously of their time and so much more.
Loneliness is one of the fastest growing health issues; Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt, has announced a mapping project to identify loneliness black spots across the country. Research shows that loneliness and isolation in old age can contribute to ill health, including depression, certain heart conditions and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Anyone interested in volunteering should contact www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk/contact