Loneliness is a huge issue and it’s one that can affect people of all ages but especially older people and the bereaved.
According to Age UK, more than two million people in England over the age of 75 live alone, and more than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.
People can become socially isolated for a variety of reasons, such as getting older or weaker, no longer being the hub of their family, leaving the workplace, the deaths of spouses and friends, or through disability or illness.
And that’s why our bi-monthly afternoon tea parties where young and old share tea, cake and friendship together are so important.
We meet on a Sunday afternoon in a community room in Windsor Court, a residential area comprising retirement flats and bungalows.
People of all ages from St John’s Church prepare sandwiches and bake cakes in advance which we take to Windsor Court and share with older people who might otherwise be spending the afternoon on their own with only the television or radio for company.
The events are always well attended.
There’s a really relaxed and informal atmosphere with lots of conversation and laughter.
It’s lovely to see people of all ages coming together in this way.
Sundays can be a particularly difficult day for people living on their own and they really look forward to our meetings.
But it hasn’t just benefited them.
Those who help by preparing the food, serving it or simply spending time with those who come benefit too.
Many of those who volunteer – young and older – say that they get just as much out of the regular meetings as the older people themselves do.
To celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday, we’re planning a big outdoor tea party.
That will be held on June 11 so put that date in your diary and come and join us. It’d be lovely to see you.
There will be sandwiches, cake and tea as usual.
St John’s Church, London Road, Purbrook PO7 5LQ
Sunday services: (8am) Said Communion (10am) Parish Communion with hymns (6pm) Evensong.
Contact: the vicar, Connie Sherman on (023) 9226 6170