A charity dedicated to defeating loneliness has welcomed its 1000th guest in Scotland.

Contact the Elderly chalked up the milestone at the weekend when 92-year-old Doris joined the party.

Photograph credit: Alan Richardson/Contact the Elderly

The charity, which organises regular afternoon tea parties to combat social isolation among older people, has more than 130 groups across Scotland.

Volunteer drivers chauffeur guests to and from the free gatherings, held in a local volunteer host’s home, where they can enjoy tea and cakes and a couple of hours of company in a small, friendly group.

Doris, a former wages clerkess who lives in Perth, joined the Fair City group after hearing about the charity through a volunteer driver who attends her church.  Previously very active, she had found it increasingly difficult to get out and about and meet people and had been losing touch with friends.

Photograph credit: Alan Richardson/Contact the Elderly

Now she is relishing the fresh opportunity to socialise, and enjoy a chat and a laugh with new acquaintances.

Delighted to become the 1000th guest, her advice to anyone unsure about joining Contact the Elderly is:

“Just do it! If someone gets the chance to be a guest they should take it, get out of the house and enjoy themselves.”

She is particularly appreciative of the door-to-door transport service and, in addition to attending the regular tea parties, has recently enjoyed a group visit to the theatre.

Guest Doris blows out the candles. Photograph credit: Alan Richardson/Contact the Elderly.

Doris added:

“I just couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be included. The kindness and generosity of all the volunteers is just amazing.”

Morna O’May, Contact the Elderly’s Head of Service in Scotland said:

“This is what it is all about – seeing people like Doris rediscovering the simple things we can all take for granted, like the ability to just pop out and catch up with friends over a cuppa.

“We’re thrilled to have reached this special milestone of providing some much-needed companionship for 1000 lonely older people in Scotland. Lack of social contact Is fuelling a huge rise in social isolation, particularly among the older generation, and our mission in Contact the Elderly is to ensure that no-one need feel alone if they don’t want to.

“We know there are many, many, more older people across the country who could benefit from a little company and kindness and we’d love to hear from them either directly or through anyone who knows someone who would enjoy an afternoon out with us.”

To find out more about becoming a volunteer or guest of Contact the Elderly in Scotland, please contact morna.o’may@contact-the-elderly.org.uk or 01786 871264 or visit www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk.