A GROUP of volunteers set up to help out during the first lockdown are continuing their work after being praised for their "incredible efforts".

Darlington Support was set up last year in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to help people struggling as a result.

The group, which has more than 20 teams across the town, was named by Healthwatch England, which monitors health services, as their "Healthwatch heroes" at the end of last year.

They were nominated by Heathwatch Darlington for their efforts.

Chief executive Michelle Thompson said: "Many people have felt isolated and lonely during the pandemic and Darlington Support have been there for the most vulnerable ensuring they have what they need.

"Darlington Support continue to make a difference to so many and are driven by the passion and enthusiasm of inspirational local people who are the epitome of community spirit during these difficult times."

With the third national lockdown, volunteers have been busy again helping residents with shopping, medication collection, dog walking, the delivery of books from the library, companion chats and the delivery of food parcels.

Darlington Support founders George Jabbour and Kimberley Scott said: "On behalf of the hundreds of volunteers of Darlington Support, we are immensely proud that our charity won this amazing national recognition by Healthwatch England.

"Our enormous gratitude goes out to all the members of the team.

"Without their hard work, compassion and dedication, Darlington Support would not have become one of the most successful groups – if not the most successful – in the country to tackle Covid at a local level."