A PONTELAND family opened its doors to give some senior citizens the chance to connect with other people.
Contact the Elderly is a country-wide initiative that supports people over 75 who live on their own and have no family at hand and no car.
Those who register can enjoy an afternoon tea, as well as some chat and laughter, at the home of a volunteer host once a month on a Sunday.
In Ponteland, the bus routes are not very user friendly and many older people cannot walk the distance to the nearest bus stop.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, four people and their drivers came to the Sobo home for tea – two lived in Ponteland, one in Dinnington and another in Stamfordham.
Muriel Sobo said: “One of the ladies had been a Land Girl during the war and another was quite lonely since her dog had died, but was planning to get another one. It was a very rewarding two hours for everyone.
“Hosts are only asked to stage one party a year for up to eight people. All they need are a downstairs toilet, a large teapot and a warm welcome.
“The older guests are brought to the house by a volunteer driver. Drivers are asked to pick up one or two people and ferry them safely home afterwards. The drivers join the party and enjoy the tea and chat too.”
The aim of the scheme is to bring people together so they can develop fulfilling friendships and support networks, and give everyone involved something to look forward to each month.
Groups are kept purposely small and going into someone’s home provides them with a welcoming environment.
If you wish to volunteer to be a host, a driver or to join in as a guest, call Sheila Ryder on 01434 672110 or email sheila.ryder@contact-the- elderly.org.uk