Two local organisations have joined forces to help combat loneliness in West Northumberland this Christmas.

Helping Hands Community Care has partnered with telephone befriending charity Silver Talk in a bid to reduce social isolation in rural areas of West Northumberland.

By working in partnership, the two organisations will offer a lifeline to some of the most isolated members of the community living in the rural villages across the area.

Andrea Alder, Silver Talk Coordinator, said: “Unfortunately, this time of year can be really difficult for many people, and feeling lonely and isolated around Christmas time is quite common amongst the older generation living in rural areas of Northumberland.

“Thanks to the support of Helping Hands we’re now able to get the message out about the service to even more older people in some of the most isolated areas of the county, who may benefit a great deal from the companionship the service provides.”

The Northumberland-based homecare organisation provides general and specialist services to allow people who are elderly, disabled or suffering from dementia to continue to live in their own homes.

The partnership has provided Helping Hands home care workers with the resources needed to refer service users into Silver Talk.

Stephen Massey is the Head of Homecare and Compliance for Helping Hands. He said: “The partnership with Silver Talk is key in helping us reduce social isolation and loneliness amongst our service users, and in a rural area like West Northumberland the need for partnerships like this one is high.”

Silver Talk is a telephone befriending service run by North East housing association Karbon Homes which provides over 55s with a 30 minute, social telephone chat with a Silver Talk volunteer each week.

Silver Talk volunteers are based at Karbon’s Tanners Burn office on Burn Lane in Hexham, and the service currently offers befriending to over 80 service users across North Durham and West Northumberland.

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