A PILOT project which sees posties help prevent social isolation has got off to a flying start in North Yorkshire.

The Safe and Connected trial involves Royal Mail postmen and postwomen calling on people on their rounds in the Whitby, Sleights and Goathland areas.

They ask about the person’s health and happiness, whether they have had difficulty taking part in social activities, had problems with anyone bothering them or would like to speak to someone from North Yorkshire County Council's Living Well team about any concerns.

The residents' responses are then passed back to Living Well team who can offer further support if necessary.

Among the first people to sign up to the trial was Brenda Simpson, 76, from Whitby.

She said: “My daughter saw the scheme on Facebook and she thought it would give her and I peace of mind if I should fall.

“I think it is absolutely brilliant.

"It is reassuring to know the postman is going to call twice a week on days agreeable to both of us to check up to see if I am well and if there’s anything I need help with.

“A lot of people find it difficult to ask for help, but this scheme is so good.

"To anyone thinking of it, I’d say don’t hesitate, get involved.”

Royal Mail postman Christian Elcoate, who visits several people on his round, said: “When we arrive on the doorstep, we check to see if the client is OK in their home and if there is anything they need.

"We ensure that people are safe at home and have someone to speak to at least twice a week.

"We get a lot of positive feedback from the reassurance we give to our customers through Safe and Connected.”

Often people do not need further support, but if they do a member of the Living Well team will call or visit to talk about their concerns and discuss what support is required.

Many residents have already received advice, reassurance and help with GP appointments, practical tasks and connections to local voluntary services.

County Councillor Caroline Dickinson, executive member for public health, said: “In winter, people can feel more isolated and alone.

“Safe and Connected can reassure individuals and their families that someone is looking out for them."

She added: "Loneliness and isolation can take their toll on people’s wellbeing. Safe and Connected offers a chance to address these issues early."

The trial, which will run until March, is funded by the government and is also running in parts of Liverpool and New Malden.