A CHARITY dedicated to easing loneliness among older people is bridging the generation gap with a new youth initiative.

Contact the Elderly, which provides a social lifeline for isolated older people through monthly tea parties, has launched its Future of Volunteering project to give young people the chance to support its work and interact with the older generation.

The initiative, supporting Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, offers a range of opportunities for youngsters to become involved in the work of the charity which brightens the lives of hundreds of people across the country through tea, cake and kindness.

Morna O’May, Contact the Elderly’s head of service in Scotland said: “It’s an exciting year for young people in Scotland and we want to help ensure that as many as possible can get involved. They are the people who will really make a difference to the future of organisations like ours.

“We will be delighted to hear from any young people or youth groups, such as the Brownies or Scouts who might want to visit their local group, or from schools who can get involved in fundraising or heightening awareness of our work.

“We’re also piloting a penpal scheme encouraging older people to share their memories and experiences with primary schoolchildren. Each generation has so much to contribute and share with the other.”

The first group of young people in Scotland to be officially recognised for their contribution under the scheme, have already been awarded Contact the Elderly Youth Involvement certificates.

Strlingshire’s Balfron High School pupils Eilidh Doonan, Ailsa Douglas, Murray O’May (all correct) received their certificates after championing Contact the Elderly through their school’s Youth and Philanthropy Initiative, an active citizenship programme to raise awareness amongst young people about philanthropy and their local community.

Their fellow pupil Jacob Bell completed his volunteering hours for his Duke of Edinburgh award with the charity.

Jacob, 14, said: “Through my time volunteering, I have managed to push myself out of my comfort zone whilst making conversation with some amazing people! It is something I would heavily recommend!”

One Sunday afternoon a month Contact the Elderly volunteer drivers collect guests and take them, door-to-door, to a free Sunday afternoon tea party in a volunteer host’s home. There they can enjoy a couple of hours of socialising and conversation.

Morna O’May, added: “We’re thrilled to see the first youngsters being recognised for their commitment to our charity. Young people bring a whole new dynamic to our work and it’s a real joy to see the different generations appreciating each other’s company over something as simple as a cup of tea.”

Anyone who wants to find out more about the Future of Volunteering initiative or about becoming a guest or volunteer of Contact the Elderly can contact Morna O’May at morna.omay@contact-the-elderly.org.uk tel 01786 871264 or visit https://protect-eu.mimecast.com/s/Y-U6Cp8DDIAlYv5TGlNqd