PEOPLE who feel lonely and isolated can now check in and chat to the team at County Durham Together.

The community hub has launched its chat service to combat the loneliness that can often be felt when shielding or self-isolating.

Durham County Council set up the hub alongside local groups, volunteers and charities, helping to support the county’s most vulnerable residents with access to essential food supplies, welfare and general advice.

The new ‘check in and chat’ service is open to anyone who needs to hear a friendly voice or for someone to chat and listen to them, as well as checking in to see if they are okay.

In addition to a wide range of mental health and befriending services already in place to support residents, hub staff will also be there to provide companionship to callers, discussing their interests or family stories in a bid to brighten their days.

The hub is also offering a reading service to callers as part of the council’s online library service Borrowbox.

As part of this service, a selection of books, alongside good news and local news stories from the library’s enewspaper, emagazine and economics collections are on offer for residents to listen to at home.

Fans of the reading service can also take advantage of a ‘lucky dip’ doorstep book offer which will see fiction, non-fiction or children’s books delivered to their door for them to keep.

To access the hub’s check in and chat or reading service call 03000-260260 or email

More information on how to look after mental health can be found on the council’s website: