Falmouth Age Concern is to begin a new telephone befriending service this week that it plans to extend to other vulnerable people as demand increases daily.

A team of 40 volunteers is in place to make calls to clients, replacing face-to-face visits in the current lockdown conditions.

But the charity will not stop there, with plans to roll this service out to other older vulnerable people who are being referred in increasing numbers, including some from outside the Falmouth area.

Manager Peter Maxted said: "Clients are being phoned regularly - in some cases every day.

"The primary purpose is to alleviate loneliness and anxiety but our volunteers are also acting as a signposting service so that if they identify a need that isn’t being met - shopping, prescription collection, practical help etc - they can assist the person in need to get the right help from the right organisation."

Volunteers have been asked to use a ‘three tier’ procedure: self-referral where the client is given a number to call, volunteer referral where the volunteer accesses the right help and, finally, referral via the Falmouth Age Concern office where the need is complex.

Client consent is always obtained to pass details on, including phone numbers and address. All volunteers are DBS checked and have been given a list of agencies from where help can be obtained.

Mr Maxted added: "Falmouth Age Concern are working very hard to co-ordinate the massive - and very welcome - level of volunteer support that has been forthcoming and also to manage the increasing number of requests from the elderly and their friends and relatives. "We are working closely with other organisations to help fulfil peoples’ needs wherever possible."

Anyone who knows of an elderly person that might need a telephone call for some emotional support can email falmouthbefriending@btinernet.com