Contact the Elderly

Who They Are?

Contact the Elderly is the national charity dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation amongst older people living in the United Kingdom. Their mission is to empower older people to make new social connections and break out of the cycle of social isolation.

Their History

Contact the Elderly was set up by Trevor Lyttleton MBE in the early 1960s after he met an older woman in Marylebone who lived alone. Saddened by the realisation that she was just one of many older people living like this in the borough, Trevor decided to make a change and hosted his first tea party in March 1965.


Supported by a nationwide network of over 11,000 volunteers, Contact the Elderly organises free monthly social events for small groups of isolated older people.

We provide a group activity that encourages:

  • Inter-generational links
  • Friendships to develop between older group members and volunteers

Their groups:

  • Operate at weekends, when most community services for older people are not available. Moreover, Sunday has been highlighted to them by their older guests as being a particularly lonely day of the week.
  • Are kept purposely small, and they meet in the welcoming environment of someone‚Äôs home.


3.6 million older people in the UK live alone, with 2 million of those aged 75 or older. 1.9 million older people have said they often feel ignored or invisible, and two-fifths of all older people say that the television is their main source of company.

Their Impact

  • 95% of the older people we work with say they now have something to look forward to
  • 55% of guests said that their wellbeing has improved since joining us
  • 85% say what they enjoy the most about the gatherings is the company