Talking Tables believes time together is the best of times. But for many elderly people their social connections diminish over the years and loneliness becomes the norm. This is why we’re partnering with the amazing charity Re-engage.
Founded in 1965, Re-engage is a national charity dedicated to tackling social isolation and loneliness in older people living on their own, with a special focus on the over 75s. It believes no one is too old to make friends and enjoy social interaction. According to Age UK, more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 live alone, and more than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. One of the brilliant ways Re-engage helps the elderly is through its volunteer-led tea parties, a vital source of companionship for thousands of isolated older people. For some it’s the only social reason they have to leave the house.
The tea parties were badly hit by the pandemic and Talking Tables will be playing a part in helping to get them off the ground again. We kicked off the relationship earlier this month, working with Re-engage on a Treat Them Like Royalty Jubilee tea party in Cheshire. The party brought back memories of the Queen’s Coronation in 1952 and many guests remembered the occasion fondly. Pam, who was eight at the time, remembered her family didn’t have a TV and she said: “We all got ready and walked round to my uncle’s house as he’d rented a small TV specially. Adults sat on chairs and the children were all sat on the floor huddled around the small screen, it was so exciting.” Other guests remembered Jubilee street parties, with long tables down the streets and everyone dressed up. They didn’t have a lot of money then and it was beef paste sandwiches and cake. The best bit was the music and people dancing in the streets in celebration.
Everything that was left over was donated to Ronald McDonald House, Manchester, which supports the families of children who are in hospital at Manchester Royal Hospital, Manchester Children's Hospital and St Mary's Neonatal Unit, so that they could enjoy the decorations there over the Jubilee weekend.
We’re looking forward to working with Re-engage on more parties. And we’re hopeful that some of the Talking Tables team will become call companions. This is Re-engage’s telephone befriending service that ensures older people remain connected to the outside world. The service is available to anyone aged 75 and over who would benefit from a regular chat over the phone with a friendly volunteer.
Re-engage CEO Meryl Davies commented: “We’re incredibly grateful to Talking Tables for getting behind our Jubilee campaign, helping us rebuild our volunteer-led tea party groups following the devastating losses of the pandemic. Our free monthly tea parties provide companionship and support to lonely and isolated people everywhere helping them build social connections at a time in their lives when their social circles are diminishing.”
We’re privileged to be involved Meryl. You can find out more about Re-engage and how to get in touch here.