Tea parties in person, face to face and with lots of cake are back in vogue thanks to double vaccinations... and by taking a few careful precautions. Anna Chaplaincy network member Catriona Foster reports on re-emerging from lockdowns to put the kettle on for groups of older people at St John's Church, Harborne, Birmingham.
'Wonderful company, food and entertainment. A happy occasion'
'Question – how do you have a tea party in as Covid-safe a way as possible?
Answer – Afternoon tea in a box! (Plus some careful planning, some safety measures, some LF tests for helpers, and some state-of-the-art ventilation)
After what has felt to many like a long and lonely seventeen months, it has been great to run several tea parties recently for some of our older friends and church members. These have provided opportunity to relax and enjoy time to catch-up with one another. They have been small-scale events with no more than 15 guests per tea party, one helper at each table, and a small band of helpers in the kitchen.
Guests were served with their own individual box of sandwiches, scone, cakes, etc. with the added advantage that any left-overs were already packed up and ready to take home. Each box had a written ‘menu’ attached to the lid and this seemed to add to the anticipation and delight of the guests. The best china came out, of course, and our guests all felt very spoiled by these special occasions. Some spoke of this being their first ‘proper’ outing in a long time, and one gentleman said it was the best afternoon tea he had ever had!
As well as creating some safe space and time to linger and chat together, a little bit of entertainment was laid on – some live music on one occasion and some poems on two other occasions.
Some of the tea parties took place in our newly-refurbished church building, other smaller ones, in peoples’ homes. I’m hoping that we can run some more of these in the future, giving opportunity to invite some of our other older friends'.
Catriona Foster, Harborne, Birmingham