Making time to make a difference
For Sarah, a career change from being a primary school teacher to working from home, in educational recruitment, meant she had more time on her hands. She decided she wanted to use that extra time to do something that made a real difference.
“Being part of Re-engage has been, and continues to be, extremely rewarding. It’s not much, but it’s something I can do to support the oldest and most lonely members of our community.”
As well as being a volunteer driver for the Hoddesdon 1 group, transporting guests to and from their tea parties, the 44-year-old from Hertfordshire is also a tea party group co-ordinator, ensuring guests and volunteers know when and where the next tea party will be and who will be hosting.
“We are a lovely little group. We have a great team of volunteers who take it in turns to host so it’s not the same person each month. Those with families often have their children at the tea parties when it's their turn to host, which is so lovely, and very often family pets join in too.
“Volunteering brings me so much joy and you can see the difference it makes to the guests and how much they look forward to it each month.”
One such guest is 90-year-old Patricia, who has been attending the Hoddesdon 1 tea parties since 2019. She has lived in a retirement flat in Cheshunt for the last 10 years.
“The people who make these tea parties happen are very special. Without them they simply wouldn’t exist. They open up their homes to us. Most of them have children and jobs but still give up their time one Sunday a month, which is just wonderful – so public-spirited.”
Tragically Patricia lost her husband when she was in her late 40s and has lived alone since her children, a son and daughter, left home around 30 years ago. She is the proud grandmother to three grandchildren and one great-grand child and enjoys any time she gets to spend with them. But she says the tea parties give her a chance to meet a diverse group of people and get her out of her flat.
“It’s a way of meeting new people that I wouldn’t otherwise get to meet. There’s always a nice, jolly atmosphere where you feel at ease, and everyone feels comfortable talking to one another.
“When you get a bit older you are less mobile, but because you are picked up and taken to and from the tea parties you don’t need to worry about any of that. The frequency of the tea parties means you really get to know everybody, and you know you always have the next tea party to look forward to.”
Leave a legacy of friendship
While our 14,000 volunteer hosts and drivers give their time for nothing, Re-engage needs additional funding to recruit and train more volunteers, to promote our services to new older people and to grow our services across the UK. One way you can help us achieve this is by remembering the work of Re-engage in your will.
Re-engage and Age concern Crosby come together
From 1 January 2022 Age Concern Crosby became part of Re-engage. Age Concern has been working in the Crosby area for nearly 70 years. As part of Re-engage, the charity will build on those strong foundations, continue its great work, and promote the work of Re-engage in the area.