Cornwall’s growing ageing population has prompted a charity that helps older people to launch new social groups in the county.
Re-engage, which is dedicated to ending isolation and loneliness among those aged 75 and over, plans to start free, gentle activity sessions in Truro, Penzance, Newquay and Bodmin, and is appealing for volunteers.
In the last decade the number of older people living in Cornwall has increased by 21% to 144,000 and nearly one in three of them live alone.
Re-engage, which already operates similar groups in other parts of the country, is looking for volunteers who can run the activity groups at local centres in the four towns as well as drivers willing to take older people to and from the events.
Ruth Carter, engagement officer at Re-engage, who is helping set-up the groups, said: “We really want to help any older people in Cornwall who may be feeling lonely.
“We know that socialising is a great tonic if you’ve been isolated and can really help with physical and mental health.
“The vast majority of older people who take part in our existing activity groups say it has improved their wellbeing.
"It gives them something to look forward to and provides an opportunity to make new friends as well as having a bit of fun.
“Our volunteers tell us they get a great deal out of helping older people.
"They feel good about doing something like this and love being with those from a different generation."
The charity needs around six volunteers to run each of the sessions where activities will include carpet bowls and chair yoga.
Barbara, 96, who started attending a Re-engage activity group in Bristol after her husband of 60 years died, said: “I really love meeting people and talking face to face.
"I enjoy telephone conversations but nothing is better than being with someone and just talking.
"It makes me so much happier.
“Going to the activity group has made such a difference to me.
"When I’m at home I can get lonely and anxious about things but when you’re with other people that’s all forgotten.
“Getting out of the house, even for a short while, is so important and so is the transport.
"I have a lovely driver who collects me and that makes things so much easier and pleasant.”