RESIDENTS who live alone in Wokingham are being invited to join a free monthly social gathering for a cup of tea and some company.

The Contact the Elderly charity currently has space for more guests to join their weekly tea parties, they have been providing Sunday afternoon events for people aged 75 and over in Wokingham for over a year.

As a result of the weekly gatherings strong bonds have been formed and friendships have been made. A total of 95 per cent of the older guests that the charity supports say they now have something to look forward to.

The charity is keen to raise awareness throughout the local community.

Hayley Stokes, support officer at Contact the Elderly, said: “Sundays can be particularly lonely for older people who live alone, and our tea parties give them a chance to get together with others, make new friends, eat delicious cakes and enjoy a cup of tea.

“The monthly events make a real difference to the lives of those in the group and we would encourage anyone interested in coming along, or those who know of people it might appeal to, to get in touch."

They are also appealing for volunteers who can spare a few hours each month to help with the running of the tea parties.

Hayley believes there is a shortage of volunteers in the Wokingham Borough.

She added: “We also have a shortage of volunteers in the area it’s not a big commitment, and our volunteers genuinely get as much out of the experience as our older guests, so I’m calling for anyone who is interested in giving something back to their community to please get in touch.”

Each guests is collected from their home by a volunteer and is driven to a volunteers host home, where they meet with the group to have tea and a chat with friends.

Caroline Bennell, a volunteer driver for the Wokingham group has been volunteering since the group launched a year and a half ago.

She said: “All the guests are lovely, so far I have only met ladies, but men are very welcome too. It’s really aimed at anyone who can’t get out much, doesn’t have a lot of visitors or perhaps don’t have much family in the area and just wants to meet new people.

“It's a great thing to do and I know the guests we currently have all thoroughly enjoy meeting new people as well as some they have met before, for a bit of a natter.

Caroline believes volunteering can help make someone’s Sunday better.

She added: “If anyone is thinking of volunteering then they should just get in touch, it is all very relaxed and helps towards making someone’s Sunday a lot more enjoyable.

“I know there must be lots of people who would love a free piece of cake and cup of tea and we are looking forward to welcoming new guests to the Wokingham group.”

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