The Royal Voluntary Service is asking for more volunteers to enlist and help to provide older people with regular company and conversation.

The charity relies on teams of local volunteers to help run their community lunch and social clubs, and is supported by funds raised by players of the Postcode Lottery.

Mandy Turner, Royal Voluntary Service’s community engagement & development worker for Cornwall, said: "Our clubs attract many older people each week who enjoy the food, company and atmosphere that our fantastic volunteers help provide.

Some of our club users describe them as a lifeline which helps stop them feeling lonely. We want to be able to attract even more older people along which is why we’re looking for more volunteers to help us grow our clubs."

The social clubs help to organise activities, cook and serve refreshments, chat with guests, and signpost local services for older people, forming important community hubs.

Ms Turner also said: "For anyone with a little spare time that is looking for a way to contribute to the local community, for example people that are recently retired, volunteering is hugely rewarding.”

Previous research for Royal Voluntary Service found that people who volunteer are happier and healthier than their counterparts who don’t.

Royal Voluntary Service is one of Britain’s largest volunteering charities with over 25,000 volunteers supporting thousands of older people each month in hospitals and the community.

The focus is on building confidence, improving well-being and keeping loneliness at bay through an array of social activities and more structured support.

The charity is also one of the largest retailers in the NHS, with its network of cafes and shops providing a valued haven in hospitals.