Patricia, 89, a grandmother of seven, joined the Watford 3 tea party group in 2021 and got to know volunteer, Tim, when he started driving her to the monthly tea parties. Although Patricia was unable to attend this event, we were lucky enough to catch up with them both beforehand to find out about being part of their local tea party group. 

Patricia joined her local group having recently moved to England from Israel to help her daughter look after her twins. Initially she wasn’t convinced the regular Sunday events were for her but she now eagerly looks forward to them.

“When a friend mentioned them to me, I was bit hesitant about going along,” she said. “But I’m so glad I did. I have a great time.

“My husband died a long time ago so I’m by myself, although one of my daughters regularly sees me to get the shopping and so on.

“I had a lot of friends in Israel, and I worked for a legal company, checking documents that had been translated from Hebrew to English. When I came to England, I wasn’t too lonely because I had my daughter and grandchildren. My son in Israel and my other daughter in Canada also keep in touch.

“I wasn’t sure something like a tea party was for me but the volunteers other guests are so fantastic - they are an absolute joy. The home-made food is consistently excellent and when I compliment the hosts on their cooking you can see the pride in their eyes.

“Tim drives me and he is such a helpful person. Without him, I wouldn’t be able to get to the parties. And I’ve realised just how much I would have missed out if I hadn’t become involved. You see, I Iike to sit and listen to all the interesting conversations going on around me. They are about various events that happened and which I know nothing about because I was living in Israel.

“So thanks to Re-engage they are bringing me into contact with a world I didn’t know before and making me feel I am a part of it.”

Tim, 40, has been a volunteer driver and occasional tea party host for the Watford 3 group since 2018. He is managing director of a marketing company and shares his home with his two French bulldogs, Marvin and Derek. 

“I have a full-on job so it’s nice to be able to do something completely different some weekends,” he said. “I enjoy taking Patricia to the tea parties because she is a very positive person and has a lovely sense of humour. She makes light of things that might get others down. She’s excellent company.

“We generally have around ten in our group and they all get on extremely well. I remember when I first started volunteering some of the guests were a little reticent and we had to coax them along a bit. But now they know each other well and the conversations just flow.

“The oldest in the group is 95 but age doesn’t matter at these events. They all relax and just enjoy the occasion. Some of them do lead solitary lives because their families might not be too close, so they really look forward to the tea parties.

“When I host a tea party I get my four nieces and nephews, who are aged three to seven, to come round and the guests really like to have them there. It’s bridging the generation gap in a very good way. And of course, the dogs get some attention as well.

“Being a driver is an important role because many of the guests have mobility problems. I get a lot out of it because it’s quite something to see the smiles on their faces when they get together to talk and eat nice food. I feel like I’ve achieved something -and it’s better than just sitting around playing video games.”

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