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, cake and companionship.
Our volunteer roles are very flexible and created to fit around our busy lifestyles. We often call it "micro-volunteering".
- Volunteer drivers will give 4-5 hours per month
- Volunteer hosts will give a minimum of 4-5 hours per event (we ask that you host once or twice a year)*
- Group coordinators will give at least 5 hours per month
*Note that many people choose to prepare their "party" many days in advance, it's a great excuse to practise your baking skills!
Each event typically lasts 2-3 hours. As a volunteer and depending on your role, you will need to take into consideration the time to either:
- Pick up and drop off your guest (roughly an hour)
- Prepare some tea and set the table (very variable, but most likely a minimum of two hours)
- Coordinate the event to find a suitable date and venue for all the volunteers and the guests
Our groups are usually made of
- 6-8 older guests who attend our monthly Sunday gatherings.
- 4-5 volunteer drivers to pick them up and drop them off at the end of each party.
- 6-8 volunteer hosts to provide a loving home for 2 hours, with delicious biscuits and tea
- 1 group coordinator to make it all happen
Once our groups are formed and ready to go they can be fairly autonomous, needing help now and then from our local Support Officers to recruit more volunteers and older guests. Groups are the secret ingredient to our success: it's thanks to our volunteers' hard work that thousands of new friendships and bonds are formed every year.
We all have different reasons for getting involved but a lot of our volunteers have or have had older people in their lives who have brought them joy or who have experienced loneliness. Other volunteers are feeling the twinge of loneliness themselves as they settle into a new area, a new job, a new set of circumstances.
Whatever your reason, we are here to make sure that all our volunteers are fully equipped to support the +8,400 older people who attend our monthly gatherings across the United Kingdom.
One of our volunteers called it “strangely addictive”.
I decided to volunteer after my Grandma passed away. I remember how lonely and isolated she felt, even when her family lived relatively close to her. Loneliness is something we all feel but rarely admit.
The great thing about volunteering is that it’s flexible. Your help makes a world of difference so even if you can only manage a few days a year, you will have helped a great deal. It’s a wonderful way to give back and feel part of a community.
A volunteer driver is much more than someone who drops off and collects an older guest. Our drivers are at the heart of the organisation, forming committed connections with older people in their communities as they join the Re-engage group together.
Please note that we are also looking for reserve drivers to step in when one of our regular drivers cannot attend a monthly gathering.
Once you join a group as a driver, or reserve driver, you will collect and accompany one or two older people to the social gathering once a month. The monthly gathering will normally take place at another volunteer’s home. Part of your role will be to liaise with other volunteers and older guests to finalise pick-up arrangements.
If you can give three or four hours each month to be part of a group of older and younger people in your local community then do please think about filling in our application form.
To be a driver with us we ask that you have:
- Full driving licence
- Two references
- We will also do criminal records checks – a DBS in England and Wales or a PVG in Scotland
Our social gatherings usually take place in people’s houses thanks to the warm welcome offered by our volunteer hosts. Most volunteer hosts welcome our guests and volunteers every 6 to 12 months, but others do so much more often.
If you are able to offer a group of eight people or more the opportunity to come into your home for tea one or two Sundays each year then please consider signing up to be a volunteer host.
It is a lovely way to get to know other people local to you. You just need to have a downstairs toilet and easy access into your home (no more than three steps, ideally).
“When we moved house, I told my husband we had to get a downstairs loo put in so that we could continue hosting for Re-engage”.
Group Coordinators range from people in their 20s to people in their 80s. Some work, some don’t, and they have a wonderful and diverse range of backgrounds and skills. What they all have is the determination to make sure that the older people in their community can get together in social groups.
Our team does all the recruitment of older guests and volunteers but it is the Group Coordinators who plan the monthly meet-ups and ensure that they run smoothly with every older guest picked up and taken home and a host lined up for every month.
All Group Coordinators are allocated to one of our nation-wide team of Support Officers who are there to give support and advice.
We require a criminal record check and two references from our Group Coordinators.
We're currently developing new volunteer roles, please get in touch with us if you are interested in any of the following:
- Work in our London office
- Volunteer photographer
- Volunteer fundraiser
Sign up to our monthly e-newsletter to find out about new volunteer opportunities.
Apply to volunteer
Become part of an amazing community of volunteers supporting 6,500 older people across the whole of the UK through our monthly Sunday tea parties.
We find you a group or put you on a waiting list if we're still building new ones in your area.
You’ll be contacted by your Group Coordinator to explain everything you need to know about your first event.
Share your group's stories with us to raise awareness of your work and loneliness among older people in the UK.