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Tea parties launched in Southampton to help combat loneliness

 

A CHARITY in Southampton has received £5,000 in funding from the city’s council to host tea parties throughout the year to help eradicate loneliness in the elderly and boost community spirit (June, 2018).

 

Communicare’s Manager, Annie Clewlow said: “Funding for events like these is vital to our work in the city. We’re inviting anyone along who wishes to meet new people and share some tea and cake in the process. A very warm welcome awaits them! Our grant covers 12 tea parties for the coming 12 months, so there will be other opportunities for people to come along and get to know their neighbours if they aren’t free this time around.

 

“Information coming to us from a variety of sources including the city council’s scrutiny panel on loneliness and isolation shows that we need far more initiatives that allow people chances to get together and simply enjoy each other’s company. For us that is the key to a strong and effective community.”

 

Communicare will also be working closely with the Co-op and British Red Cross on the tea party project. The retailer has offered to help supply tea, coffee and cakes, while the Red Cross will help people join in the events.

 

The Red Cross and Co-op have been working together since 2015 to tackle loneliness in communities across the UK.

 

The Communicare team will be assisted by Sheila Elsey, Co-op Member Pioneer, as part of her remit to bring together community groups, and Louise Mackney, one of the Red Cross’ Community Connectors working across Southampton to support adults of all ages experiencing loneliness or social isolation.

 

Annie continued: “We’ll be pooling volunteers to help host the events. By working closely with the British Red Cross, we are providing new opportunities for local people to meet up and socialise and making sure we are together able to reach as many people as possible who might need our support.”

 

 

Doreen Smith, who uses Communicare’s services, said: “The tea parties are great fun and it really makes a difference to me to be able to get out and about meeting new people. It can be quite lonely at home if you’re retired and on your own, especially if you have family but they are busy with work and other things. It’s important they get on with their lives and events like these give me something to do and it keeps me out of mischief! It’s an invaluable service, a lifeline.

 

“They are absolutely wonderful; a great get together, the staff are so friendly and welcoming, you are really cared for and looked after. It is lovely to meet other people and talk to everyone, the tea parties are really important as it gets people out of their home that wouldn’t normally mix or go out at all especially for those who might not see or talk to anyone.”

 

Communicare’s Good Neighbours’ Network already supports nearly 400 individuals/families annually in Southampton, covering 671 different tasks including one-to-one befriending, either at home or out and about, transport to medical, social or other appointments and activities, shopping for or accompanying service users, DIY tasks and gardening projects.  The service offered is free, although beneficiaries are invited to make a donation if they are able.

 

 

Communicare is now hoping other similar community-based groups and organisations, and members of the public, will get involved with the tea parties as they roll out.

 

 

For further details, please call 023 8021 6022, visit www.communicareinsouthampton.org.uk or follow the charity on Twitter at @Communicare_SO or log on to www.facebook.com/CommunicareInSouthampton.

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