A BEFRIENDING scheme that provides companionship for older people is looking for volunteers who can spare some time each week.

Age UK in Darlington set up the Rely on Me Befriending Scheme after receiving calls from older people in the town who just wanted someone to talk to.

The befriending scheme matches a volunteer to a service user for a weekly visit in their home.

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The scheme also offers a driver service to take people shopping, to hospital or doctor appointments, to visit loved ones who may be in care or to an Age UK-run social activity club.

A spokeswoman for Age UK said: “We all need someone to talk to, but not all of us are lucky enough to have someone. Loneliness is a massive issue for people in later life in the UK.

“Befriending makes a huge difference; one of our ladies actually left her home for the first time in three years.”

The Darlington befriending scheme has a list of more than 30 older people in the town who are in need of company.

Volunteers are asked to spare an hour or two each week, which can be flexible around existing commitments. Full training and on-going support will be available, as are expenses.

For more details contact Sharon Vasey, volunteer/ Befriending project officer on 01325-362832 or email sharon.vasey@ageukdarlington.org.uk