In this Month of Mental Health Awareness, particularly highlighting Loneliness Week, here is how I got involved.

Meet Karen, Our Facilities Assistant,

In this Month of Mental Health Awareness, particularly highlighting Loneliness Week, here is how I got involved.

Several years before lock-down,  I became a volunteer Tea Party Host for  Re-Engage (formerly Contact the Elderly).  The same Group of Over-75s, the Group Leader and the volunteer drivers who brought them along, came to my house for Afternoon Tea, chatter and company in equally large amounts.  People who join such Groups are often without family or friends nearby  so they are a lifeline for many of them and an opportunity to socialise and have some fun.

Sadly, Covid struck and the Groups were suspended, leaving many people just like these isolated, alone and unable to socialise, without the company, friendship or support they had come to enjoy. 

I managed to keep in touch with one lady in particular throughout the pandemic and we have become special friends.  She is 85 and medically vulnerable so contact was not possible most of the time and she also lives a distance away.  However, a phone call every couple of days, sending her a DVD or a note in the post, helping organise her jabs, sending fish and chips on a Friday and the occasional visit for a trip out when we were allowed, all lifted her spirits. 

I welcomed a Group back in my garden last weekend, including my special friend and a lady who is the same age as the Queen!  A lovely fun time was had by all.  I asked if they would mind me showing their photos and they were more than happy to agree.  In fact I think they enjoyed posing, along with the Organiser and her husband!

My family and I are happy to welcome and entertain the Group, but we are also getting so much more in return from spending time and swapping stories with such sociable, knowledgeable and interesting people. That's me on the right with my cat!