Reaching out to help target loneliness

Guests at the Brechin Christmas dinner
Guests at the Brechin Christmas dinner

The charity Contact the Elderly has just completed another successful year in Angus reaching out to the local communities.

The charity runs groups in Forfar, kirriemuir, Brechin and Montrose and last year set up a new group in Carnoustie.

Jean Malcolm, volunteer and Angus Area Organiser, has outlined a number of events held during 2015.

She said: “As well as our Golden Jubilee celebration at the Brechin Castle Centre in April, when all four groups and guests had a lovely time, we now have a fifth group, Carnoustie and interest from two other towns.

“We have seen the number of volunteers soar as the public becomes aware of what a huge problem loneliness is and the harm to physical and mental health it causes.

“The Montrose Group have had their Christmas tea party and Brechin has had lunch at the Castle Centre, which, as always, was delicious and served by cheerful staff. Brechin had its final tea party of the season where Santa made an appearance as the guests all claimed to have been very good.

“Montrose has been particularly fortunate with the number of volunteer hosts who have offered their services this year. Some have replied to articles in newspapers and others have seen the Bisto advert which involved Contact the Elderly and suggested that people might invite a lonely elderly person for lunch on one, perhaps two Sundays a year. There has been a tremendous response to this throughout the UK.

“The problem of loneliness, especially in the elderly is vast.

‘‘The charity aims to alleviate loneliness by having volunteer drivers collect a couple of elderly guests on one Sunday a month and accompany them to that month’s host for afternoon tea, from 2pm until 4pm.

“Loneliness is, of course, not confined to the elderly, as perhaps you saw if you watched the recent BBC documentary on loneliness, and perhaps if you are lonely and volunteered with us you could help yourself while helping others.

‘‘You would meet other drivers and different hosts each month, and might make new friends. The afternoons are full of laughter and our drivers and hosts get just as much out of it as our guests.”

If you would like to know more, please contact Jean on 01356 660238 or use the website