A NEW service to help isolated and lonely older people get to the shops is appealing for volunteers.

Age UK County Durham, in partnership with UTASS, will launch a monthly shopping club in Teesdale and organisers have issued a plea for a volunteer driver and a volunteer helper to get involved.

Robyn Holmes, chief executive of Age UK County Durham, said: “The older people who have signed up for our Shopping Club struggle to get to the shops and, as they live alone, are often lonely and isolated. They are so excited to be getting out and about and enjoying some company. We are delighted about working with UTASS who can provide the minibus but we desperately need a Volunteer Driver and a Volunteer Helper for our monthly trip.”

The UTASS minibus will take people from Middleton-in-Teesdale and Cotherstone to Tindale Crescent shopping area, at Bishop Auckland, on the second Friday of each month starting at 10.30am.

The cost is £5 per person, and includes a raffle for a hamper. The trips are not just a ride to the shops– members get a door-to-door service, access to a wide variety of shops and supermarkets, help with heavy bags as well as plenty of time to stop off for a cuppa, some lunch and a chat.

The new service is supported by funding from Teesdale Action Partnership and is part of Age UK County Durham’s Keeping Safe and Well in Later Life in Teesdale programme.For information about the scheme or to discuss volunteering contact Age UK County Durham on 0191-3746577 or email cet@ageukcountydurham.org.uk