For more than a year, 20 Scottish Greggs stores have been offering free cakes to people who host a tea party for lonely OAPs.

The scheme, which started in January last year, is run by Contact the Elderly, which invites the public to host a tea party for pensioners in their home on a Sunday afternoon.

Twenty stores across Scotland provide yum yums, pineapple tarts and other sweet treats.

Contact the Elderly has 123 groups in Scotland that aim to provide “a lifeline of friendship” to old people who live alone, according to the charity.

The regular format is a tea party held in a volunteer host’s home for a group of between six and eight people on a Sunday afternoon. A volunteer driver collects one or two older people and accompanies them to the party. A host welcomes a group once or twice a year.

Research by the charity showed that 95% of guests say the parties give them something to look forward to and 77% feel happier because of them, while 76% of guests find Sunday a particularly lonely day.

A spokeswoman for Greggs told British Baker: “As a business, Greggs believes in supporting the local communities in which it operates and Greggs is proud to work with Contact the Elderly.

“A number of Greggs shops in Scotland have committed to providing cakes for the guests to enjoy at the monthly get-togethers.”

Greggs currently only provides free cakes, but told British Baker this might be extended to sandwiches in the future.

Morna O’May, head of service – Scotland at Contact the Elderly, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Greggs for the ongoing support its bakeries provide for our tea parties.

“The value of enjoying a shared afternoon of cakes and company is immeasurable.”