As we move into a new era for our charity, I have been reflecting on my past eight and a half years working here.
No doubt like lots of my colleagues, I was inspired to apply because I was touched by the simple, yet effective concept of bringing older people who are feeling lonely together with volunteers for monthly tea parties in local communities.
I had previously mainly seen negative images associated with older age and it was wonderful to see that Contact the Elderly was all about bringing friendship and happiness to older people’s lives. What I didn’t realise at the time was how impactful these tea parties could be.
I once drove a lady home from a tea party and her departing words to me as we said goodbye capture it in a nutshell. She held my hand and said ‘you’ve made one old lady very happy!’ I’ve been honoured to meet a lot of our volunteers and older guests over the years. What they’ve said has made me realise that for many older people their decision to join one of our groups has literally been life-changing. I’ve been humbled by the incredible commitment given by our volunteers, many of whom have been with us for years. We couldn’t do any of this without them.
I now realise that what was so key to Contact the Elderly’s long-term success was never just the tea parties, it was the meaningful connections made through them. People who started off as strangers became friends and support networks were created. Rebranding as Re-engage is an exciting time for us because it enables us to take our incredible heritage with us and step into the future as a charity with a new name that clearly represents our mission and values, and will enable us to engage better with all of our stakeholders. This in turn will lead to new opportunities for us to reach more older people and volunteers as we develop new group activities as alternatives to our much-loved tea parties which we will retain.
We firmly believe that you are never too old to make new friends and have a social life, we’ll be able to share that message with so many more older people in future. I am so happy and proud to have seen Contact the Elderly evolve into the charity that has become Re-engage.
Give back this Christmas
Re-engage joins 23 other charities in innovative charity advent calendar for children
"You spoke, we listened" by Meryl Davies, CEO
I would like to say a huge thank you to every one of our volunteers who has helped with our recent surveys.
By Meryl Davies, CEO