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The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award 2012

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Tea Parties with Friends

How it works

Once a month, normally on a Sunday afternoon, each older guest is collected from their home by a volunteer driver, and taken to a volunteer host’s home, where they join a small group for tea, talk and companionship. The group is warmly welcomed by a different host each month, but the charity’s drivers and older guests remain the same. This means that over the months and years, acquaintances turn into friends and loneliness is replaced by companionship. You can read about the three different ways to volunteer with Contact the Elderly below, or get started straight away by filling in the application form.

Volunteer with your car

Drivers collect the same older guest/s each month and take them to a different local host's home where they all enjoy an afternoon tea party. There are usually three to five drivers in a group and there are sometimes also one or two reserve drivers to cover for holidays and emergencies.

Requirements: All you need is a full driver's licence, a valid insurance and access to a car. As a driver we ask you to supply two references and we also take out a Disclosure and Barring service check (DBS) or a PVG before you start as a volunteer.

Your commitment: We ask our drivers to commit to three to four hours one Sunday a month and to contact their older guest/s a few days before the monthly tea party to make sure they know when they are going to pick them up.

Apply to become a driver

Host a group

Hosts provide a warm welcome and a simple afternoon tea lasting between two and three hours for six to eight older guests and three or four drivers. Often hosts involve family and friends and two or three generations join in.

Requirements: The only essentials are a big teapot, a downstairs / ground floor toilet and easy access to your house (e.g. not too many steps to your front door). We also ask that you have enough seating for eight older people. 

Your commitment: Our hosts to commit to one or two tea parties a year – possibly more if they want. The volunteer coordinator (see below) will call to check dates and other arrangements and nearer the time will confirm how many guests to expect.

Apply to become a host

Coordinate a group

Coordinators ensure everything runs smoothly each month. Coordinators are also often volunteer drivers too.

Coordinators organise the monthly group outings by liaising with the hosts and the drivers so that everyone is clear about the time, date and place. After the drivers have been called by the coordinator, they in turn contact their older guest/s.

Support and advice for coordinators is readily available from Head Office, Regional Development Officer or Volunteer Support Officer, if required.

Requirements: We ask all group coordinators for two references and we also take out a CRB or PVG check before you start as a volunteer.

Your commitment: The coordinator role is very important to ensure the tea parties run smoothly. It is the coordinator's job to be organised and keep everyone informed, planning the monthly host schedule, assisting with DBS / PVG checks and liaising with new volunteers and guests.

Apply to become a coordinator

Become a Volunteer Area Organiser 

Contact the Elderly is looking for volunteer Area Organisers across England, Scotland and Wales.

This role involves three main areas of work: 

  • To help current groups to flourish, with full capacity of guests and necessary volunteer drivers / hosts / group coordinators
  • To support the volunteer drivers / hosts / group co-ordinators so that they feel valued, supported and positive about and their group, and are thus enabled to make a real difference to the guests who attend
  • To raise awareness and build the profile of Contact the Elderly with relevant bodies, organisations, services, and general public who might self-refer, refer guests and / or promote our service to prospective guests and volunteers

Click here to read the full volunteer description.

To apply, please email outlining your experience, how your experience matches the role and where you’re based.


Click to download:

Volunteer Leaflet

Application form

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