OLDER people left isolated during the pandemic are being offered a befriending service run by an Ealing charity.

The telephone support service, run by Age UK Ealing, involves volunteers and staff calling people up to three times a week, checking on their welfare, offering support and being a friendly voice on the end of the line.

When Covid restrictions are eased, the charity will resume offering in-person visits for a cup of tea and a chat, help around the house or trips out for shopping.

The scheme is made possible thanks to a £145,000 three-year grant from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.

Age UK Ealing Chief Executive Reginald Parkinson said: “Our volunteers get as much out of it as the older people they support. It’s rewarding for them to be able to help someone else, and above all they get the benefit of a real and lasting friendship.”

Anna Weber, 81, from Greenford, said: “Before coronavirus I was very independent and used to go to Ealing Broadway all the time on the bus. I’ve had a few falls in recent years which have taken away a lot of my independence and made me feel depressed.

“Since last year I’ve had a befriender who calls me every week. She’s always interested in me, makes me feel good about myself, and has been there for me when I’ve needed help”

Victoria Manning, 47, from South Ealing, a volunteer telephone befriender for four years,  said: “I absolutely love the weekly telephone calls to my friends. As well as having a chat and a laugh, I get to hear some remarkable stories and life experiences.”

More information is available at www.ageuk.org.uk/ealing while anyone interested in volunteering is asked to email volunteer.co-ordinator@ageukealing.org.uk or call 0208 578 2712.