A NEW partnership which provides befriending services across the whole of the Cotswolds has been officially launched.
Cotswold Befrienders was set up by Cotswold Volunteers North, based in Moreton, Churn Good Neighbours, in Cirencester, and Tetbury-based People for You.
The three services were awarded a £500,000 Big Lottery grant shared between them last summer which part-funds the service for five years and allows each of them to extend their area boundaries to serve the whole of the district.
To celebrate the new partnership, Cotswold Befrienders recently hosted a lunch donated by Cotswold District Council at its offices.
Partner Sue Black, of People For You, said: “Our combined mission is to reduce loneliness and isolation, which is the scourge of our modern society.
"With an ageing population and families scattered, it is a sad reality that many older people in our community do not have regular social contact. The repercussions from this are immense and hugely damaging.”
Kirsty Holder, Befriending Services Manager at Cotswold Volunteers North, said they were delighted with the new partnership but needed some more volunteers to cope with the demand.
"We could not run this service without our wonderful volunteers, who give freely of their time to provide a weekly visit to people in their own homes, who have very little social contact with the outside world," she said.
"We have an older and ageing population, above the national average, and the need for befriending services is growing
"It is becoming more difficult for us to keep pace with demand. In order to extend our services we will be asking for more people from the Cotswold community to come forward and volunteer to be Befrienders.
"Befriending is a rewarding way of giving back to your local community. Often, the volunteers benefit from the experience just as much as the people they befriend."
For details or to volunteer call 01608 652019 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.