A mayor is hoping to use his year in post to raise awareness and support for a charity which helps people affected by loneliness and social isolation.
The mayor of Wellingborough Malcolm Waters has chosen to support the Contact the Elderly charity during the next 12 months.
It is a national charity dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation among older people, but has a dedicated group of local volunteers.
Monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties are organized for people aged 75 or over who live on their own and would otherwise have little social interaction with other people.
The groups stay small and the same people meet each month so that friendships blossom and people begin to feel part of the community again.
Statistics show 80 per cent of service users say they have something to look forward with the tea parties.
Contact the Elderly will be Cllr Waters’ main charity during his mayoral year, and he and wife Veronica enjoyed afternoon tea with the local group on June 5.
Cllr Malcolm Waters said: “The afternoon was filled with conversation and laughter.
“The elderly guests told us how much the monthly tea parties are the highlight of their month.
“The mayoress and I were so impressed with the kind hostess and the drivers, who shared tea with the guests.
“They were like one big happy family.
“I hope to raise funds and develop awareness of Contact the Elderly in the borough over the coming year.
“The work the charity does is so valuable, and I’m pleased to be helping them raise their profile locally.
“I hope to help many isolated elderly people make new friends and thus improve their lives.”
Suzan Hyland, national volunteer support officer for Contact the Elderly, said: “It is fantastic to have the support of the mayor and mayoress of Wellingborough.
“Our service is very simple and really makes a huge difference to the lives of the older people we help.
“Our volunteers also get a great sense of fulfillment from helping older people in the community – and they get to enjoy the tea and cake too! I’d like to encourage anyone interested in volunteering, or older residents who would like to join the group as a guest, to get in touch with me.”
The first Wellingborough group was launched in January 2016 and takes six older residents out every month with the help of volunteers.
Contact the Elderly is hoping to launch more groups in the area and would love to hear from anyone who would like to volunteer for them.
Volunteers include drivers and tea party hosts.
Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Suzan Hyland on 0207 8812361 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.