Charity in urgent need of hosts due to unprecedented demand for service

A charity that helps lonely and isolated older people across Angus is urgently appealing for volunteers in the Brechin area after an unprecedented surge in requests to join its social groups.
​Volunteer hosts entertain guests to tea in their own homes. The demand for Re-engage’s service has increased considerably.​Volunteer hosts entertain guests to tea in their own homes. The demand for Re-engage’s service has increased considerably.
​Volunteer hosts entertain guests to tea in their own homes. The demand for Re-engage’s service has increased considerably.

Re-engage is also in need of volunteer hosts in Kirriemuir, Forfar, Montrose, Carnoustie, Monifieth and Laurencekirk after experiencing a 60% increase in the number of older people who want to attend its free, monthly tea parties.

Before Covid the combined groups had around 50 tea party guests. But there are now 80 with no sign that demand is falling.

Jean Malcolm, area organiser for Re-engage, said she thought that the increase is a reaction to the recent resctrictions imposed by Covid.

She said: “There is no shortage of older people wanting to join us, especially the men.

"I think after two years of lockdown restrictions, the prospect of going to a safe environment for a lovely social occasion is very appealing. It’s a sort of security blanket.”

“We want to help as many people as possible which is why we’re appealing for more volunteers who are able to host a tea party in their homes.

“It would also be wonderful if local organisations could get involved and offer a location - we’ll go anywhere for tea and cake!”

Across Scotland there are around 100 tea party groups with nearly 700 volunteers who host the tea parties and drive the 570 guests to and from the venues.

As well as holding the social gatherings in hosts’ homes there have been parties at a golf club and one staged by a local scout group.

One 79-year-old guest, Rhona, said: “You have no idea the difference the tea parties have made for me. They have certainly improved my quality of life.”

And Helen, 83, said: “I would not have coped very well without the tea party volunteers.

"They have helped me in every way possible. They treat me like an old friend, not a guest, which is very comforting.”

Anyone wishing to volunteer for Re-engage can get in touch with the charity at: Volunteer opportunities: local voluntary work with older people (reengage.org.uk) or by calling 020 7240 0630.

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