Whether they’re a friend, relative, neighbour, service user or patient, we’re here to help.
You can feel reassured by our strong track record in supporting older people.
We’ve been dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation for more than 50 years and 95% of the older people we work with say they now have something to look forward to.
Why refer someone to us?
Joining a Re-engage group is a very positive step for people who may have been bereaved, lost confidence or are feeling depressed.
Our volunteers play an active role in the groups and this contributes to their success; new people joining are warmly welcomed, connections are made and new friendships develop between peers and with our volunteers.
Who can refer?
Anyone can introduce an older person to us, including family, friends, social and health care professionals, day centres, churches and other charities. We welcome referrals from NHS link workers.
Until recently we focused on delivering this service as monthly tea parties on a Sunday afternoon, but we are now at an early stage of increasing our portfolio of activities. As these are developed, they will be included on our map so you will know what options are available in your area.
I feel very emotional as I only go out when I have a hospital appointment and there you don’t get to talk properly to people. This tea party has made me feel alive again with such kindness shown. I really cannot wait until we do it again.
Small groups of older people and volunteers get together for social events within their community. We call the older people who join our guests. The same group meets each month so guests and volunteers find themselves making long term friendships. Everyone looks forward to seeing each other and catching up.
Our main social activity is our tea party groups. Once a month, normally on a Sunday afternoon, each older guest is collected from their home by a volunteer driver, and taken to a volunteer host’s home, where they join the rest of the group for tea, cake and companionship. Our tea party groups usually meet on Sunday afternoons because we know this can be a lonely time of the week if you live alone. We have volunteers who host most of the events in their houses, providing a warm, welcoming environment. We sometimes meet in other venues, too, like community halls, hotels, museums and even the odd fire station!
We are beginning to offer alternative options for group activities, the first of which is Reading Friends which we are currently developing in selected locations in South West England and Scotland.
Our groups are open to people aged 75 and over who live alone, either in their own home or sheltered housing and are experiencing loneliness. Our interactive map shows the areas where we currently have groups.
The points below will assist you to decide if our service will suit the older person you would like to refer. Some health conditions may make it challenging for older people to participate:
- Most events take place in a volunteer’s home. As we require hosts to have a downstairs toilet and not more than one or two steps into their property, they will be accessible for people with reduced mobility who are able to walk short distances with a walking aid if required. However, they are unlikely to have adaptions such as handrails or adapted bathrooms for people with disabilities. For this reason we can’t usually offer a place to people who depend on a wheelchair for their mobility.
- They should be able to manage a short walk from the car into the host's home, with assistance if required.
- They should be continent and able to manage their own personal needs, such as using the bathroom without assistance.
- We support people in the early stages of dementia. However, those who are experiencing significant memory loss may find it confusing or distressing to participate.
We do consider applications on a case by case basis, so please contact us if you have any questions about this or want to chat further.
We have more than 900 groups across the UK and our interactive map shows where we’re currently operating.
We’re always looking to develop new groups. If we don’t currently work in your area, we still encourage you to get in touch with us so that we can see where there’s a need for our service. Alternatively, you can also sign up to our e-newsletter to find out when we are rolling out new groups and activities across the UK.
Many of our referrers like to hear the outcome of their application and love to know when we’ve successfully placed an older guest in a group. If you let us have your contact details, we can keep you updated and get in touch if we have any questions. We won’t use your information for any other purposes without your permission.
On the Getting to Know You form you will see consent tick boxes for us to contact you regarding the person you have referred or to receive relevant marketing news from us in future. Please ensure you tick these boxes if you would like to opt in to either.
There is no charge for participation in our tea party groups. In future when we offer alternative group-based activities there may be a small charge for some of them.
Once we’ve received the older person’s details, we’ll contact them directly in writing with an update within two weeks. Hopefully we’ll be able to place them in a group right away but if we can’t, we’ll let them know what happens next.
Yes. As our older guests often no longer drive or may find it challenging to travel on public transport, we arrange for volunteers to drive them.
With the safety of the older people in our care in mind, all of our drivers are DBS checked (PVG in Scotland) and we take up references for them.
The drivers will provide a door to door service, making sure they meet the older person at the front door and will ensure they are home safely again after each outing.
In that case, it might be better to give them one of our information leaflets next time you see them or pop it through their letterbox.
They can then decide for themselves if they’d like to get in touch with us. Please do offer to assist them with completing our Getting to Know You form if you think they may forget to do so. You can download the leaflet or contact us to request a hard copy.
Thank you. Many of our older guests hear about us through word of mouth so we really appreciate your support.
There are a few ways to spread the word – you can follow us on social media and share our posts or download our posters and leaflets. If you’d like to request printed versions of our literature to distribute in your community, or have any questions at all, please get in touch.
Nurse, NHS Scotland
As a Mental Health Staff Nurse, I see at close quarters the detrimental effect loneliness and isolation can have. I started to refer patients in the hope that it would help alleviate that loneliness. I can now truly say that attending the groups can make a huge difference.
Being part of a group that meets regularly gives a sense of belonging and gives these lonely guests something to talk about and something to which they can look forward. I know that participating in the groups enables the guests to have meaningful interaction with other people and can empower someone who has become isolated, acting as a catalyst for change.
I am so grateful to this service and all the many volunteers who make the groups possible.