Party time in Speyside

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Contact the Elderly guests enjoying an afternoon tea party. Pic Alan Richardson, Dundee,

A charity that aims to eradicate loneliness among the older generation is planning to expand its work in Speyside.

Contact the Elderly offers a lifeline of friendship to socially-isolated older people through regular, free Sunday afternoon tea parties.

Volunteer drivers chauffeur guests to and from the gatherings, held one a month in a local host’s home, where they can enjoy a couple of hours of tea, cake and conversation in a small, friendly group.

The charity, which organises scores of tea parties all over Scotland, already has groups in Elgin, Buckie, Aviemore and Grantown-on-Spey.

Now plans are being made to expand its work in the area and an invitation is being extended to locals across Speyside who would like to join the party as guests or volunteers.

Denise Robson, Contact the Elderly Development Officer, said: “We’d really like to hear from older people themselves or from anyone who knows someone they think would enjoy an afternoon out with us. We’re also hoping that the idea of hosting a small party will appeal to more locals willing to open their home to some new friends in need of company.

“We know just how much our regular guest and hosts look forward to catching up – one Contact the Elderly guest recently said that attending the parties had made her the happiest she had been since losing her husband.  It’s just amazing the difference a little kindness and companionship can make.”

Hosts are expected to hold a tea party two or three times a year so volunteering only entails a few hours of their time. Yet for the guests, who often find it difficult to get out and about, a change of scene and the chance to socialise, adds immeasurably to their enjoyment of life.

Drivers usually volunteer one Sunday afternoon a month, transporting the same one or two guests with whom they can build real friendships.

“In today’s fast-paced life the needs of the older generation can sometimes be neglected,” said Denise. “But the premise of Contact the Elderly is so simple – a chat over a cuppa – that we’re confident the Speyside community will come forward to help brighten the lives of some of our most vulnerable residents.”

To find out more about becoming a volunteer or guest with Contact the Elderly on Speyside, please contact Denise Robson on 01542 285010 or