‘Older people in the West End love our tea parties … all we need is someone to help’

By Ian Marland at

A charity is appealing for people in the West End to offer a little time to make an ‘immeasurable difference’ to older residents.

Contact the Elderly has been turning loneliness into friendship for more than 50 years.

It offers a vital lifeline of friendship to older people by lining up volunteer hosts who welcome guests into their home for tea and a chat.

Tea parties for older people

Friendship: Contact the Elderly has been turning loneliness into friendship for more than 50 years

Now the charity simply needs a group coordinator to support its group in the West of the city.

“Our West End group is incredibly well-loved and treasured by our guests and volunteers,” says Caroline McGinlay, support officer at Contact the Elderly.

“To support it we need more people to help us provide the immense benefits that a bit of baking and a blether can offer to older people who live alone.

“Almost 100% of our volunteers feel the tea parties reduce the isolation of guests and that they feel they are really giving something back.

How the group works: a volunteer driver collects one or two guests one Sunday afternoon a month and accompanies them to a tea party hosted in a volunteer host’s home.


A volunteer host welcomes a group once or twice a year, providing an afternoon tea and welcoming atmosphere.

Each group also has a volunteer coordinator.

Says Caroline: “With busy lives, it may seem difficult to find the time to make a real difference.

“All we ask is for a few hours once a month and the impact of your time is immediately obvious.

“Three quarters of our guests find Sunday a particularly lonely day and almost all say the tea parties have given them something to look forward to.”

* To find out more about volunteering with Contact the Elderly locally, contact caroline.mcginlay@contact-the-elderly.org.uk or 0141 812 1555.