Tom Brake MP takes tea with socially isolated Sutton Seniors

January 20, 2011 4:46 PM

Carshalton and Wallington MP, Tom Brake, enjoyed a cuppa and a cake at the Sutton Contact the Elderly group's monthly Tea Party this Sunday (16th January) and took the opportunity to chat with many of the older members - the majority in their 80s and 90s - that have been attending the group since its launch in September 2010.

Contact the Elderly aims to relieve the acute loneliness and isolation of very elderly people who live alone by organising monthly Sunday tea parties, offering a regular and vital lifeline of friendship to older people in the local area. Each elderly member is collected from their home by their volunteer driver, and taken to a volunteer host's home where they join a small group for tea, talk and companionship.

Since its launch last year, the Sutton Contact the Elderly group has really flourished with acquaintances becoming friends and loneliness being replaced by companionship. The success of the first Sutton group has meant that the charity, with the support of Tom Brake, is keen to set up a second group in the area, to meet the local demand for this type of service.

Contact the Elderly's South London Development Officer, Cliff Rich, said: "We know that around 7,000 people over the age of 75 live alone in Sutton and that hundreds NEVER see any family or friends. This is why we're really keen to start a second Sutton Contact the Elderly group so that we can help even more lonely and isolated older people in the area. But we can't do this without the help of more willing volunteers! Anyone who can spare a couple of hours one Sunday a month, has a driving licence, a car, and a capacity for drinking tea, is eligible. Or alternatively our hosts just welcome the group into their home once or twice a year. It's not a big commitment, and our volunteers genuinely get as much out of the experience as our older members, so I'm calling for any Sutton residents interested in giving something back to their community to please get in touch with me as soon as possible.

"Similarly, residents over the age of 75 who live alone, need a bit of help getting out and about, and don't have the support of friends or family nearby, can get in touch if they would be interested in joining the group."

Tom Brake said: "Contact the Elderly is a wonderful charity helping the most isolated and vulnerable in our community. The afternoon I spent with them was filled with conversation and cake. I had a lovely time meeting those involved in the charity, and those aided by it. I would strongly encourage people to volunteer and help out."

For more information about joining, or volunteering for a local Contact the Elderly group in Sutton, please contact Cliff Rich on 020 8675 3030 or visit www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk

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