Special tea parties held to enable isolated people over the age of 75 the chance to socialise with young people are taking place across Greater Manchester in September. 

Hosted by national charity Contact the Elderly in association with the National Citizen Service, over 40 older people and volunteers from across Manchester attended the first tea party, which took place on Sunday 14 September at St Barnabas Church, Chorlton.

Teenagers from the National Citizen Service hosted the event, providing afternoon tea, doing the ladies’ nails, teaching guests how to make loom bands, and – most importantly – chatting to them.

A further tea party took place on Sunday 20 September in Ramsbottom at St Andrews Church; the hosts for the Friendship on Sundays Contact the Elderly group. They invited guests and volunteers from the other Bury groups to join them.


Contact the Elderly is a national charity that aims to changes the lives of people aged over 75 who can’t get out on their own. Guests who attend the tea parties typically live alone and have little contact with family and friends. An estimated 2.5 million older people in Britain are lonely, and eight in 10 people find it difficult to admit to feeling isolated.

 Contact the Elderly Regional Development Officer, Gwen Lightfoot, said: 

“Sunday afternoon is often the loneliest time of the week for older people so it was fantastic to see so many guests and young volunteers attending the tea party on Sunday.

 “I think the young volunteers surprised themselves with how much they enjoyed chatting to and forming friendships with the older guests. The tea party was four times the size of our usual monthly events and it was lovely to see guests from across Manchester coming together to socialise and learn new crafts.”  

Contact the Elderly is also appealing for new guests from M14 Fallowfield, M15 Hulme, M13 Moss Side, Rusholme, Ardwick and M11 Longsight for a new group that the charity is setting up with Manchester Metropolitan University.

The charity operates by forming small local groups made up of guests and volunteers. One Sunday afternoon a month each group meets for tea, cake and company. Hosts take it in turns to welcome guests, usually once or twice a year and volunteer drivers take guests safely to the tea party and then home again. This is a free service. Volunteers are particularly needed to support the Ramsbottom based Bury and Bircle group.

The groups are small, usually around 10-15 people so that everyone can really get to know each other. Guests and volunteers make lasting friendships and afternoons are spent laughing and enjoying each other’s stories.

Contact the Elderly Regional Development Officer, Gwen Lightfoot, would like to hear from anyone interested in joining as a guest and can be contacted via 01925 728 969 or gwen.lightfoot@contact-the-elderly.org.uk 


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