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Can you spare a couple of hours a week to help someone re-join the community?

A British Red Cross service which tackles social isolation in Middlesbrough is urgently looking for new volunteers who can spare a bit of time to help local people feel less alone.

Last year, the charity launched its Connecting Communities initiative in partnership with the Co-op after finding Middlesbrough is one of 39 areas in the UK where help is most needed. The Red Cross is now expanding its team of local volunteers to ensure it can reach the high numbers of people nearby in need of support.

Volunteers offer companionship and support to adults of all ages and backgrounds, helping them meet new people and feel able to be more involved in the local area. This could be through joining community groups or activities, accessing local services, rediscovering friendships or making new ones.

Now the charity is looking for kind, compassionate people who can give just a couple of hours a week to volunteer, and make a big difference to someone’s wellbeing.

Research by the Red Cross and the Co-op found that over nine million people in the UK feel always or often lonely. Adults of all ages can be affected, and the impacts can be as damaging to health as smoking and obesity.

British Red Cross operations manager for independent living in the North Louise Hedley said: “Our local volunteers have been doing wonderful things, showing how even a small amount of kindness can help our service users nearby turn a corner and start to enjoy life more fully.

“Loneliness is more common than many people think, and the impacts can be devastating. We need more volunteers to help us tackle this in Middlesbrough and make sure we can reach all those nearby in need of support. We would love to hear from anyone who is interested in joining our local team.”

If you’d like to find out more, contact connectmiddlesbrough@redcross.org.uk or call 0191 273 7961. Or you can register your interest at redcross.org.uk/tackleloneliness.

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