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Men in museums – can you help?

By on January 21, 2015

Contact the Elderly say they are in “desperate need” of volunteers to start a new local group as part of their Men in Museums initiative.

The charity provides a social lifeline to people aged 75 and over who live alone by arranging regular tea parties – a simple but effective way of helping to tackle isolation. Volunteer drivers collect guests from their homes and join them for a tea party within a volunteer host’s home.

The parties tend to welcome around six older guests and four drivers, taking place monthly on a Sunday afternoon. These popular tea parties are often the only chance for the guests to socialise.

From these gatherings it became clear some guests are also looking for an opportunity to visit different venues to participate and engage with culture and art. Contact the Elderly began working in partnership with Glasgow Museums in 2006, offering monthly Sunday sessions for their guests.

The charity is now looking to start another Men in Museums group in Glasgow – but needs more volunteers to do so. Like the tea parties, outings take place once a month on a Sunday afternoon and are free of charge.

Alan, who regularly attends one of the groups, said: “I love history and this gives me the opportunity to learn at all the different museum venues. It gets me out for the day, it’s lovely to meet all the others in the group and also the staff and volunteers at the museums. This group gives me something to look forward to each month and I would definitely recommend it.”

Recent reports say increasing numbers of men are facing loneliness and isolation in old age with the number living alone predicted to increase significantly by 2033 – from 12,000 to 40,000 households of lone males aged 85-plus.

Margaret Oliver, West Scotland Development Officer for Contact the Elderly, added: “The guests really enjoy both the tea parties and Men in Museums trips. We of course are so reliant on volunteers to keep these free services going. We are in desperate need of volunteer drivers for one of the existing museums groups and we require male drivers for Men in Museums. So if anyone has some free time for an incredibly rewarding cause, I urge you to get in touch.”

* To join or find out more about volunteering for Men in Museums or the tea parties please contact Margaret Oliver on margaret.oliver@contact-the-elderly.org.uk or 01389 605915.

Contact the Elderly is the only national charity, which since inception, has focussed solely on relieving the acute loneliness and isolation of older people in the UK who live alone, without family, friends or other support networks nearby.

 

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