To help raise awareness of loneliness among older people, The Royal Station Hotel in Newcastle – part of The Cairn Collection – has launched its Age UK Winter Afternoon Tea and will donate a percentage of the proceeds from every afternoon tea sold in December to Age UK Newcastle.

To kick off the campaign, a group of older people supported by Age UK Newcastle’s befriending service and new Day Service were also invited to experience a special festive Age UK Winter Afternoon Tea at the city centre hotel’s Empire Restaurant.

According to Age UK, a charity which champions living well in older age, 1.2 million people are chronically lonely, and 1.7% of older people (65 and over) have not had a conversation with friends or family for a month. Loneliness can increase the risk of premature death by up to a quarter and has been found to be as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.*

With this initiative, the hotel aims to encourage more people to think about and make time for older relatives, friends and neighbours who may be feeling lonely during the winter months.

Yvonne Shanley, Volunteering and Befriending Manager, Age UK Newcastle, said: “This is a wonderful initiative by The Cairn Collection and The Royal Station Hotel. The group of older people we support were thrilled to be asked along to experience the afternoon tea and everyone had a hugely enjoyable afternoon full of laughter and fun. We are a local, independent charity and rely on grant funding and donations to run our services so it’s really important that we are able to fundraise locally, and making strong links with local businesses is one of the key ways in which we do this.”

Michelle Harle, General Manager, The Royal Station Hotel, Newcastle, said: “We’re delighted to be able to support the work of Age UK Newcastle with our Age UK Winter Afternoon Tea. The issue of loneliness in older age is one that should be addressed more widely, and if we can inspire people living in our community to make contact with their older friends, relatives and neighbours, and provide them with some companionship in the winter months, then that will be a huge success.”

The Age UK Winter Afternoon Tea includes traditional favourites such as mini Victoria sponges, mulled plum fool, and spiced apple and blueberry tartlet, and £1 from each two-person booking will be donated to Age UK Newcastle throughout December. To book, please see:www.thecairncollection.co.uk/age-uk/

The grade 1 and 2 listed Royal Station Hotel is one of ten hotels nationally to make up The Cairn Collection, a portfolio of 10 hand-picked hotels across the UK. The ten hotels in The Cairn Collection are: The Majestic Hotel, Harrogate; The Redworth Hall Hotel, Durham; The Old Ship Hotel, Brighton; The Angel Hotel, Cardiff; Stirling Highland Hotel, Stirling; The Royal Station Hotel, Newcastle; Stoke Place Hotel, Buckinghamshire; Saint George’s Hotel, London; Cairn Hotel Newcastle and Cairn Hotel Edinburgh.

The Cairn Collection is part of the Cairn Hotel Group, a family-owned business headquartered in Newcastle, with 50-years’ experience in the industry.