A charity that has been combating loneliness in West Stirlingshire for more than 20 years has issued an urgent appeal for more volunteers.
Re-engage, formerly known as Contact the Elderly, tackles social isolation among older people through regular Sunday afternoon tea parties and other activities.
The monthly events are usually held in a local host’s home and guests are chauffeured to and from the gatherings by volunteer drivers – a crucial service that solves any transport worries for those who have difficulty getting out and about.
The West Stirlingshire group is one of more than 140 in Scotland with more than 1000 guests whose lives are often transformed through this simple solution of some kindness and company over a cup of tea. The group, which covers Balfron, Fintry, Drymen, Buchlyvie and Killearn, has been going for more than two decades but is currently experiencing a shortage of drivers.
Lorna Dunbar, the charity’s support officer for the area says: “Social isolation is one of society’s biggest problems, especially among the older generation, but we see the huge difference social events like ours can make to someone who perhaps doesn’t have the chance to interact with others as much as they would like.
“We believe everyone should have the opportunity of a social life, no matter how old they are, and we’d really love to hear from locals who can help us enrich the lives of the older generation in their communities.”
Drivers are asked to devote just a few hours one Sunday a month to the charity.
“It’s really not much to ask if you’ve got a spare Sunday afternoon and for anyone new to volunteering it’s an ideal way to get involved,” said Lorna.
“Guests are usually over 75 and our volunteers are generally much younger so it’s also a great way to bring the generations together. I’m confident locals will step forward to help us out and I can guarantee they’ll get as much out of it as the guests – it’s just so satisfying to see the difference you can make to the life of someone who is feeling isolated.”
To find out more about becoming a volunteer or guest of Re-engage, please contact Lorna Dunbar at firstname.lastname@example.org or tel 01738 730249