OLDER people’s charity the Royal Voluntary Service is calling for more volunteers to join its pilot telephone befriending scheme in Avon and Somerset to combat loneliness.

Avon and Somerset Police put vulnerable older people without nearby friends or family in touch with the RVS.

Volunteers will call regularly for a chat, and put older people who use the service in touch with other support networks and services in their local community.

The scheme aims to enable older people to stay independent at home and active within the community.

There is a waiting list of older people wanting to use the service and the charity needs more volunteers.

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “Volunteers play a vital role in helping deliver valuable services that otherwise would cease to exist.

“To an older person the help and support a volunteer can offer is their lifeline to evading loneliness and keeping their independence.”

Laura Goringe, Royal Voluntary Service locality manager for Bristol and Somerset, said: “This vital service provides a friendly caring voice at the end of the phone and helps older and vulnerable people who might not see friends and family often to increase their social contact with the local community.”