A CHARITY can relaunch its befriending service after being awarded three years of funding - £50,000 per year - from the National Lottery's Community Fund Partnership Grant. 

It means that Shipley-based HALE can relaunch Shipley Area Links Befriending. 

Lesley Danson, Shipley area referrals co-ordinator, said "We look forward to the time when we can allow volunteers to visit people who feel isolated, but at the moment volunteers are supporting people with weekly phone calls to chat and reminisce to keep their spirits up during this testing time."

This partnership between HALE and Community Action has provided befriending since 2009. 

Joy Mills, Bingley co-ordinator, added: “I am delighted that we are back in business and can help people in this crisis.

"Since we first launched this scheme, over five hundred pairs have made friends. Several longstanding volunteers have already offered extra telephoning.

"One lady who received calls from from Shipley Area Links has just applied to become a Covid telephone befriender herself."

Many older people, already isolated, are even more lonely during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Telephone befrienders across Bradford have stepped up to offer weekly phone calls to chat and reminisce, to keep their spirits up during this testing time. Volunteers also benefit from their involvement with someone new in their community.

Shipley Area Links Befriending facilitates volunteer befrienders in Shipley, led by HALE Project, with Community Action Bradford and District in Bingley.  They are focusing currently on telephoning, but will still be available beyond the current crisis, thanks to the new grant.

For Shipley or Allerton areas, contact the HALE office on 01274 271088 or for Bingley call 07422 966 141. Other parts of Bradford for any Covid support can get in touch via the helpline - 01274 431000.