A VOLUNTARY service has been awarded £5,000 to give a lifeline to people in the community.

The Befriending scheme, run by the Castle Point Association of Voluntary Services, has been given the cash by Santander bank’s Community Plus initiative.

The scheme sees dedicated volunteers visit lonely or isolated people in Castle Point and Rochford, and provides companionship and emotional support on a weekly basis.

The Befriending scheme was nominated by Trevor Matthews. His mum Lilian, 93, has been using it for the past six months.

Trevor said: “The Befriending scheme has been a lifeline to my mum.

“Her befriender, Lynda, comes to visit every week to sit and have a chat while I am able to get on with things I need to do.

“My mother looks forward to seeing Lynda and they have become good friends.

“I am really pleased I have been able to be part of helping the scheme receive this donation.”

Sarah Hillion, branch manager at Santander in Hadleigh, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Befriending Scheme and hope the donation makes a real difference to local people.”

The scheme, which has now been running for two years, was funded by the Castle Point and Rochford Clinical Commissioning Group and Family Mosaic, but it is now being supported by other groups.

If you would like to become a volunteer or know someone who may benefit from having a befriender, contact Beverley Parrish at Castle Point Association of Voluntary Services on 01268 638416 or e-mail beverley.parrish@castle pointavs.org.uk