In association with The Aviva Community Fund 2017
There is nothing like a good cup of tea and a slice of cake to cheer a person up – of any age! I certainly feel better after a good cuppa, maybe it has secret medicinal ingredients as a simple tea and a chat can brighten up the darkest day. That is the purpose of an amazing community group I wanted to talk to you about today – Contact the Elderly. They are dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation in the elderly community by hosting tea parties for those over 75 who live alone. All of their hard work was rewarded last year as they were funded £10,000 by the Aviva Community Fund meaning their good work can continue to go from strength to strength this year and for many more to come I am sure.
Last year the Aviva Community Fund awarded £1.7 million to over 450 community groups across the UK, allowing them to continue the important and beneficial work they do in our communities. This will be the third year of the program, with the Aviva Community Fund opening to submissions on the 12th September 2017, during this time members of the community can submit an idea that will make a real difference to a local group or charity they’re passionate about, with the chance to secure funding ranging from up to £1,000 to £25,000, this will go to a voting stage and if they are selected funding begins in January 2018.
I was able to have a long chat with Anna from Contact the Elderly to hear all about the good work they are able to do since being funded by the Aviva Community Fund in 2016. Here is what she had to say….
Tell me about Contact the Elderly?
Contact the Elderly run tea parties for those aged over 75 who live alone. They are held every month on a Sunday and each tea party is usually a group of 4-10 older people. Each guest will be picked up from their homes by a driver, taken to the party and then dropped back to their homes again. Contact the Elderly aim to provide the same driver for each guest every time, so they are greeted with a friendly face and the conversation can start from the moment they are in the car, plus the same group of elderly guests attend each tea party so it’s a great way to make a new group of friends and catch up with them on a monthly basis.
How many locations are there around the UK?
There are over 700 groups around the UK and this number is only growing.
How long has Contact the Elderly been running?
The project attained charitable status in 1965, so has been running over 50 years now, however it’s really grown in the last few years and they hope to keep this momentum going!
How much were you awarded from the Aviva Community Fund last year?
Contact the Elderly was awarded £10,000 from the Aviva Community Fund – this money has been able to directly fund 14 groups for an entire year which means 140 more guests are able to attend 12 parties each over the year. That is an incredible difference to so many peoples lives!
Which Ordinary Object has made a big difference to the project?
The Teacup – Contact the Elderly’s logo is three little teacups – a cup of tea brings everyone together. Aviva Community Fund certainly helped to provide many, many cups of tea.
Do you have any stories where the project has really changed peoples lives?
There was a lady called Maud, who had lived with her lifelong friend Margie for over 20 years. When Margie passed, Maud told people she didn’t want to live anymore as she felt she had no one – she had no friends or family around her and was completely isolated and alone. Around 5-6 years ago, she spotted an advert for Contact the Elderly and got in touch, she has been going to tea parties ever since. She said “Contact the Elderly changed my life, I feel like I have a whole new set of friends to talk to, it’s wonderful“.
How do you see the project moving forward into next year?
Hopefully Contact the Elderly will continue to sustain groups already in place and grow to open more groups across the UK, especially in rural areas where the elderly are even more isolated. They are looking to also recruit more volunteers.
- Contact the Elderly has 10,000 volunteers and over 6000 guests.
- Over half of the population over 75 live alone
- 1 in 10 people over 65 say they always or often feel lonely
- Contact the Elderly surveyed 10% of their guests, of those asked 95% said the tea parties give them something to look forward to.
“Contact the Elderly changed my life, I feel like I have a whole new set of friends to talk to, it’s wonderful“.
It was a pleasure to speak to Anna and hear all about this wonderful cause. It just shows how important those everyday ordinary objects are, like a good cup of tea – their importance should not be underestimated! The project really got me thinking about the elderly in my community and how I might be able to help out too.
Do you know a local project that needs funding?
For local projects, an ordinary thing can mean everything, but funding may be a challenge.
That’s where the Aviva Community Fund 2017 comes in, supporting good ideas making a real difference where it matters most.
Aviva is offering four funding levels, from up to £1,000 to £25,000. To apply for funding, just tell Aviva how your project will make a positive change in one of these categories:
• Health and wellbeing
• Skills for life
• Community support
You’ll need votes to get your project to the finals, so start rallying friends, family and neighbours now! However, Aviva knows how much work it can take for volunteers in smaller projects to pull their entries together and rally voters.
Most smaller projects ask for funding up to £1,000, so to recognise all their hard work, Aviva will automatically give the first 200 projects to reach 1,000 votes in this funding level the funding they ask for. If you’re one of the lucky 200 projects, Aviva will let you know. If you’re not one of those 200 projects, you’re still in with a chance of winning your funding.
To get involved, submit a project or vote visit www.aviva.co.uk/community-fund. Entries opened on 12th September, closing dates for entries on 10th October 2017.