AGE Concern Christchurch is going from strength to strength, adding more essential services to help elderly people in the area.

The charity, based in Bargates, has increased its services to elderly people in the area, with more emphasis on socialising and schemes to reduce isolation.

Just before Christmas, the Daily Echo launched a campaign with Esther Rantzen, who was urging people to reach out to elderly people who may be isolated.

At Christchurch Age Concern, a team of volunteers not only helps to run the shop, but also runs a befriending service, friendship groups, information and advice and transport for elderly people who need a helping hand.

Vivian Reid, general manager, said: “Our befriending service for people who are not able to get out is going really well and I would love to extend it.

“There is a massive need and we have a fantastic co-ordinator.

“As well as the befriending service we also have five friendship groups across the borough.

“They have many activities, governed by the people who go to the groups.

“They centre around socialising so you can see how important this is to many people in this area.”

As part of this theme, Age Concern is also starting up a Reminiscence group at Christchurch Library on January 28.

The 10-week courses will allow people to remember their pasts as part of a social group and, at the end of the course, each person will have a portfolio with their favourite memories in.

Vivian said: “We want people with carers to know that they are more than welcome to come along as well.

“There are five places for carers in the hope that we can encourage people that do not get out a lot to join in.”

She added: “I have been amazed by the number of people who recognise the name Age Concern.

“We have a wonderful team of volunteers and without them we could not provide the services we do.

“People come to us because they feel comfortable and call us about all sorts of things, from advice about divorce to rogue traders.”

Contact Age Concern Christchurch on 01202 488311.