Re-engage: South London tea party hosts desperately needed

A charity whose volunteers host tea parties for the elderly is desperately appealing for more South London members.

The tea parties are to help older people combat loneliness, as many have been unable to socialise since the Covid pandemic.

Re-engage, the charity that runs the events is dedicated to ending loneliness and isolation for those aged 75 and over.

The scheme is trying to rebuild its network of free Sunday tea parties throughout the UK and needs hosts who are willing to spend a few hours once a month to oversee the gatherings.

There is a shortage of co-ordinators in some areas, including Brixton, Bromley, Croydon and Greenwich.

The charity has about 70 volunteers who regularly host the gatherings and offer tea, sandwiches and cake.

The elderly guests are also driven to and from the tea parties by the hosts.

Mary, who is partially blind and was recently widowed after being married for 60 years, said: “I have no friends and I haven’t got a big family.

“I can’t go out much, so I really look forward to the Sunday outings.

“I can’t tell you how much I enjoy them.

“I don’t know what I would do without the tea parties.

“If I don’t have them, I have nothing.”

Ninety-year-old Pat, who also attends the parties, said: “The people who make these tea parties happen are very special.

“Without them they simply wouldn’t exist.

“They open up their homes to us.

“Most of them have children and jobs but still give up their time one Sunday a month, which is just wonderful – so public-spirited.”

Meryl Davies, chief executive of Re-engage, said: “Before the pandemic our monthly tea parties provided a vital lifeline for older people who barely saw another person from one week to the next.

“Two years of lockdowns and uncertainty have left many of them lacking the confidence to get back into the outside world.

“We want them to start socialising again so they do not feel they have been left behind but to do that we need local community leaders prepared to devote a few hours which can change so many lives.

“Our tea parties are the perfect remedy for those feeling isolated, probably even more so since the pandemic gripped the country, and we want to provide a service that will bring some happiness to their lives.

“Without co-ordinators we can’t do that.

“Loneliness is a serious health issue and with the over-75s one of the fastest growing populations it needs urgent attention.”

If you would like to become a co-ordinator for Re-engage and host monthly tea parties, contact the charity at: Become a tea party group coordinator (

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