Jean has been a member of her local tea party group in Bristol for several years now. Housebound throughout the pandemic, the group helped keep her spirits up during a difficult time. Naomi became a driver for the group two years ago and struck up a special friendship with Jean when she started making fortnightly deliveries of homemade cake whilst tea parties were suspended.
Jean: We’ve all missed the tea parties so much.
“When I first joined the tea party group, I was a bit apprehensive. I didn’t know what to expect. But they made me feel so welcome and my worries vanished in an instant.
“It’s been such a lovely experience and I’ve met so many different people, from all walks of life, who I would never have met otherwise.
“The volunteers take so much care of us. I get driven to and from the parties and there’s always someone there to look out for us, whatever we need.
“Seeing Naomi once a fortnight during the pandemic really helped me. We have lovely chats and I’ve come to know her quite well; I see her as a friend. She makes such wonderful cakes for us all, coffee and walnut, chocolate, lemon drizzle.
“I spoke to other tea party guests once a week during the pandemic and it made such a difference. We’ve all missed the tea parties so much.
“Communication is so important and it’s very easy to become isolated as you get older. Re-engage is just brilliant”.
Naomi: I can talk to Jean about anything.
“I first became involved with Re-engage because I wanted to give something back. Our son is home educated, and I knew that he would gain from the experience too. He helps me with the baking and meets a generation who give him a different perspective.
“Jean is always so positive and bubbly. She keeps her mind active, reading or doing the crossword and she keeps up with everything that’s going on. I can talk to her about anything.
“During the pandemic I made over 120 cakes for our tea party guests. Baking for others has given me so much pleasure. For once, I haven’t had to worry about piling on the pounds afterwards either!
“Seeing how alone some of our tea party guests were put my own worries into perspective. I realised what a difference a visit from a familiar face with a cake could make.
“Re-engage has helped me to mix with my community and it’s an absolute pleasure”.
Our LGBT research
In July we launched an exploratory research project to hear about the types of social activity groups and services LGBT+ people aged 70+ would like to take part in. Our research shows a clear desire for more groups and services specifically for the LGBT+ community.
A weekly 30 minute phone call can change a life
Julia has been making weekly calls to her call companion Sharon since December. Sharon’s mental and physical wellbeing suffered following a cardiac arrest and speaking to Julia makes her feel good about herself.