The story of Patricia and Sarah (below) reminds us all of what can happen when a community comes together to make time for others. 90-year-old Patricia lost her husband when she was in her 40s. She lives alone and her local tea party group gives her something to look forward to - a reason to get out of her flat. Sarah coordinates the monthly tea parties that Patricia attends and is a volunteer driver.
Some of our very first tea party groups began in central London in 1965 and today we have 106 tea party groups across the capital and hundreds of volunteer call companions. We want to do more to re-connect local communities in London so if you want to join our fight to tackle loneliness or know an older person in need of the lifeline of friendship, please do read our story below.
Every year, Re-engage volunteers give almost 8,000 isolated older people the chance to make new friends, lifting their spirits and improving their wellbeing. But while our amazing volunteers give their time for nothing, as a charity we need additional funding to recruit and train more volunteers and grow our services across the UK. One way you can help us is by leaving a gift to Re-engage in your will and you can read about how to do this in this month’s newsletter.
And finally, it was heartening to read about new research into the benefits of 20 minutes of exercise a day for those over 70. We recently introduced our group activity sessions to older people in West Yorkshire, and we've had some fantastic feedback, with one older person saying 'I love it! It felt so “right” for me, and I felt so safe and comfortable, almost immediately.' When we hear how much pleasure older people are getting from our groups, we know we're doing the right thing.
Enjoy the read.
Making time to make a difference
90-year-old Patricia has been attending the Hoddesdon 1 tea parties since 2019. She has lived in a retirement flat in Cheshunt for the last 10 years. For Sarah, a career change from being a primary school teacher to working from home meant she had more time on her hands. She decided she wanted to use that extra time to do something that made a real difference. As a coordinator and driver for the local tea party group, she and Patricia have struck up a true friendship.
Each year, Re-engage gives nearly 8,000 older people the chance to make new friends, regain a sense of community and improve their wellbeing. We know from the feedback we receive that our lifeline of friendship makes a world of difference.
Yet we know that there are still many more people who could rediscover joy in their lives through our free monthly tea parties, activity groups and befriending service. We also have bold plans to widen our reach, especially to older men and to more people from minority groups. One way you can help us achieve this is by by remembering the work of Re-engage in your will.
Our very first tea party groups began in central London in 1965. Since then, we have developed right across the capital and currently have 106 tea party groups in London. We want to have more because we know how important it is to re-connect older people within their local communities. Our work in London spans every borough and hundreds of Londoners have stepped forward to be part of our call companions telephone befriending service, which was launched in spring 2020.
Find out more about how we are tackling loneliness and isolation in London and what you can do to play a part.
New long-term research suggests that twenty minutes of daily moderate to vigorous exercise for those over the age of 70 may help ward off heart disease and heart failure later in life. Until now, relatively few studies have looked exclusively at whether exercise in later life can help stave off heart problems in old age. The findings, published in the journal Heart, reinforce the maxim of “better late than never” when it comes to exercise. You can read more about our activity groups for older people here.