John Lewis at home Swindon have held a tea party, in partnership with the charity Contact the Elderly.
Thirteen members of the charity’s local Swindon groups, along with their volunteer drivers and co-ordinators, met with John Lewis at home Partners (staff) to enjoy lively conversation and delicious cakes and refreshments in the shop’s café.
A recent YouGov poll carried out to launch ‘The Campaign to End Loneliness’ found that fewer than 1 in 5 people are aware that loneliness is a significant health risk. While other research suggests that isolation and loneliness in older people poses as great a threat to their health and wellbeing as smoking and obesity.
Contact the Elderly is a national charity that helps fight loneliness in people aged over 75, who live alone or experience little social interaction, by organising regular tea parties that provide vital friendship links. The monthly tea parties are usually held in the homes of the charity’s volunteers, but on this occasion John Lewis at home’s café played host.
Dominic Joyce, branch manager of John Lewis at home Swindon, said: “It was a real pleasure to host this morning’s tea party for Contact the Elderly Swindon and welcome the ladies into our new shop.
“Loneliness and isolation is one of the greatest challenges facing the UK’s rapidly ageing population, so the work of Contact the Elderly is crucial.
“Ann Godfrey, founder of the Contact the Elderly groups in Swindon and Wootton Bassett, has worked tirelessly for the past 36 years to ensure members are not left alone in their homes, and are socially connected with friends made at tea parties. She relies on the community to support her work through hosting tea parties in their homes and assisting with driving members, so we hope our partnership helps raise awareness of the invaluable work Contact the Elderly undertakes in our local area”.
Ann said “Our ladies were so excited when they heard their tea party would be hosted in Swindon’s new John Lewis at home shop.
“Dominic and his team joined us for a morning of delicious cakes, cookies and drinks and the tea party was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.
“Hopefully these events will help spread the word about Contact the Elderly’s work and our need for volunteers. Our hosts are only asked to hold a tea party once a year, so please spare a thought for the elderly by getting involved in this worthwhile charity. After all, we are all going to become elderly ourselves one day”.
After the morning tea party, members and volunteer drivers were offered a tour of the new shop and received a John Lewis at home goody bag.
Iris, 82, member of Contact the Elderly Swindon, commented: “I’ve been a member of Contact the Elderly for a few years and the people I’ve met through the group have become good friends.
“The monthly tea parties have made a big difference to my life for which I’m very grateful.
“Today we all enjoyed a fantastic outing to John Lewis at home, where they put on a lovely morning tea for us. It was nice to meet my friends and to visit the shop for the first time with my volunteer driver.”
John Lewis at home Swindon has also hosted a morning tea party for Contact the Elderly’s Wootton Bassett Group.
For more information about the new John Lewis at home Swindon branch please visit www.johnlewis.com/swindon
If you would like more information about joining Contact the Elderly’s Swindon or Wootton Bassett groups, either as a member or a volunteer, please contact Ann Godfrey on 01793 853236, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk
For further information on ‘The Campaign to End Loneliness’ please visit www.campaigntoendloneliness.org.uk