contact the elderly tea party
As with many other areas of London and the UK, Southwark and Lambeth have found themselves struggling to cope with the pressures of an ageing population and vast funding gaps. Contact the Elderly have stepped in to take on these issues and are the only national charity solely dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation amongst older people.
Working in partnership with Contact the Elderly, as well as the lovely volunteers from Borough Common, The Bridge hosts two tea parties a year for local elderly residents in our café space. The attendees also meet monthly in smaller groups throughout the year and the tea parties are a chance for further integration, companionship, and the perfect excuse for a party!
The most recent tea party took place on the afternoon of Sunday 11 June as part of the Jo Cox Foundation’s ‘Great Get Together’ initiative - a chance for local people to come together and celebrate everything that unites, rather than divides, us.
There was a great turnout, with lots of the volunteers bringing along cakes and sandwiches (particularly high praise for the lemon drizzle cake!), and Contact the Elderly drivers collecting the guests from their homes to bring along to the tea party. After everyone had arrived and settled down for a cup of tea and a natter, the fantastic Kate Westall and her band provided the group with some classic tunes, some of which the guests were particularly excited to hear and eagerly hummed along and tapped their feet.
After the music, there was a quiz to test the groups knowledge with headscratchers such as ‘Who was the president of the United States from 1953 – 1961?’ and ‘Which year did Disneyworld first open?’, as well as a ‘Name That Song’ round, leaving the group giggling along throughout.
As the afternoon drew to a close there was plenty of cake and sandwiches left over and we made sure that each guest left with a takeaway box full of goodies to tuck into later. The group then said their final goodbyes as the Contact the Elderly drivers arrived to collect the guests and drop them back to their homes.
The afternoon was a lot of fun and it was great to see such a lovely time being had by both guests and volunteers alike. It is amazing what something as simple as a tea party can do for bringing together local people of different ages and backgrounds. There was a real feel of community spirit at the tea party and it was a truly brilliant event. A huge thank you to both Contact the Elderly and Borough Common for coordinating in advance and for all of their help on the day – and of course the biggest thank you goes to our guests of honour for making the event truly special.