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Sidcup fire station hosts summer party for isolated older residents

PUBLISHED: 10:58 13 August 2018

Sidcup fire station hosted a summer party for 67 residents. Picture: Rachel Mentiply

Sidcup fire station hosted a summer party for 67 residents. Picture: Rachel Mentiply

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Firefighters at Sidcup fire station teamed up with charity Contact the Elderly to host a summer party for 67 residents, many of whom were older and suffering from social isolation.

The team has been involved with the charity for seven yeards. Picture: Rachel MentiplyThe team has been involved with the charity for seven yeards. Picture: Rachel Mentiply

Firefighters from the station’s “Green Watch” have been volunteering with the charity for the past seven years, after watch manager Neil Fox approached the them hoping to host a one-off event.

The relationship has blossomed into a regular arrangement, with the station, which has recently been awarded the 2018 Bexley Volunteer Award, hosting summer and Christmas parties every year.

“This is the seventh year running that we’ve done this, and even though we got called out right before the party, just as we’d started buttering the sandwiches, everything ran like clockwork,” said Mr Fox.

The charity’s chief executive Meryl Davies, who also attended, said: “It’s wonderful to see the local fire service taking action to help older people in their community reconnect.

Contact the Elderly CEO Meryl Davies with volunteer Alison Minney and watch manager Neil Fox. Picture: Pam BartleContact the Elderly CEO Meryl Davies with volunteer Alison Minney and watch manager Neil Fox. Picture: Pam Bartle

“It’s inspiring to see these amazing people who keep us safe dedicating their time and energy to help isolated people make new connections in their community.”

The guests enjoyed an afternoon of eating, drinking and conversation with the fire fighters and members of the community.

They also were given a tour of the station before the afternoon finished with a game of bingo, which was particularly popular amongst the guests.

Contact the Elderly’s Alison Minney, who helped organise the event, said: “The older people we work with look forward to these annual events so much.

Sidcup fire station hosted a summer party for 67 residents. Picture: Rachel MentiplySidcup fire station hosted a summer party for 67 residents. Picture: Rachel Mentiply

“The amount of joy Neil and his team have provided for isolated older people in our community for the last seven years is extraordinary, and I hope it continues long into the future.”

Mr Fox continued: “For me, the highlight of the day is being able to sit back and watch our guests chatting away, smiling and happy.

“Giving something back to the community makes is so important, and a bit of effort from us can make such an impact on peoples’ lives.”

Anyone interested in volunteering should visit www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk and any older person who would like to get out more and meet new people can contact the charity on 0800 716543.

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