Monifieth Befrienders has been hailed as an example to Angus and Scotland as the lifeline organisation marked its 21st birthday in style.
The group was described as a “mighty oak” by Angus Provost Ronnie Proctor as he joined an anniversary celebration in the burgh’s Parish Church.
It was one of two special events held to mark the milestone.
Volunteers set up the group at the turn of the millennium to deliver extra support and friendship to the over 60s living locally, including the bereaved and people in care homes.
The trained volunteers make weekly visits and the group has also developed a wide range of social activities.
Monifieth High link
It has developed close ties with Monifieth High and is proud of the success of the inter-generational initiative.
The scheme uses community trishaws to take people out and about.
One is currently on trial locally and it is hoped more than £8,000 can be found to help add Monifieth join the likes of Carnoustie and Montrose in the scheme.
The 21st birthday was marked by an afternoon tea for the Friends and an evening celebration involving officials, volunteers and civic guests.
Founder member Derick Gourlay and Margo Geddes, a befriender from the beginning of the project, had the honour of cutting the anniversary cake.
Angus Provost Mr Proctor said: “Like all great oaks, the small acorn of Monifieth Befrienders has matured into a magnificent tree of 21 years.
“Many changes have occurred over those 21 years but the main effort and core message have remained constant.
“Volunteers and staff remain dedicated to alleviating loneliness and social isolation of the elderly in the community, and sharing friendship with them.”
He added: “In May 2017, one of the first civic events I attended as Provost was a Monifieth Befrienders coffee morning in the old church hall.
“It has been a great privilege to attend further events with you until the outbreak of the pandemic, each as well organised and well attended as that first one I was at.
He added: “Each year prior to the pandemic the Befrienders have carried out more than 2,000 visits and I am sure this will be the norm again in the not too distant future.
“Monifieth Befrienders are an exemplar to other communities in Angus, and indeed Scotland.”
Project co-ordinator Lindsey le Grice said: “The anniversary events were wonderful and the Friends who came along to the afternoon tea had a lovely time.
“We are very lucky because Monifieth is such a close-knit community and everyone is so supportive of what we do.
“The pandemic was difficult because our befrienders weren’t able to make their regular visits and that was a time when people needed a friend more than ever.
“But we are more or less back to normal with that now, visiting and getting out for coffee.
“Our friendship, knitting and exercise groups are still to get up and running but we are looking at that and hopefully it won’t be too long.”
She said the Monifieth High School link continues to be a big success story.
Lindsey continued: “Every year it gets bigger and better.
“It is great for inter-generational working and our friends are really interested in hearing about school days now compared to their time as children.
“It’s a really nice part of what we do.”