Arran opens its doors to the elderly

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Organisations on Arran opened their doors to some of the island’s older generation inviting them to be their guest at afternoon tea parties.

Arran Community Land Initiative(ACLI) at Whiting Bay provided the venue for one group of visitors from Contact the Elderly, a charity which aims to combat loneliness among older,  socially-isolated people through free monthly gatherings over tea and cake.

Trustees of the ACLI organised the outing with help from the owners of Cruickshanks Boutique B&B who provided sandwiches, tea and coffee, and Red Vintage Tea Parties who donated the cakes.  Guests were entertained in the gardens by two viola players while they enjoyed some tea and company in glorious sunshine.

A second group of Contact the Elderly guests was hosted at Charisma Lane Coffee and Crafts in Brodick . The enterprise offered a discounted afternoon tea which was sponsored by Helen Bagnall in memory of her mum Moria Barclay, a former guest of the charity on Arran who had thoroughly enjoyed outings.

Helen, of Bishop Monkton, Harrogate, Yorkshire, a former volunteer driver with Contact the Elderly,said: ‘Mum was quite isolated until Contact the Elderly came along and she loved the outings. She died last August but the charity gave her some lovely times towards the end of her time at home.’

The first Arran group was launched in 1996 and the second in 2016. The two groups are currently run by a dedicated band of volunteers, led by voluntary coordinator Maureen Dockerty, but they are hoping more locals will come forward to help.

Contact the Elderly Support Officer for the area, Caroline McGinlay, said: ‘Arran has a higher than average older population and it is forecast to grow significantly so we know there is always a need for groups like ours. We’re particularly keen to hear  from anyone who would like to support our work on Arran by becoming a volunteer driver or host.

‘It only takes up a few hours each month but the benefits for the guests are transformational and the volunteers can truly see the difference a little kindness can make.’

Anyone interested in finding out more about being a guest or volunteer with Contact the Elderly should contact Caroline McGinlay at caroline.mcginlay@contact-the- or on 01770 600948 or visit

The group enjoying afternoon tea at Charisma Lane. NO_B27elderly01