Lottery grant to extend Derbyshire Dales careline for elderly

A telephone service which helps elderly people in the Derbyshire Dales is to be extended, after the scheme was granted £116,418 lottery money.

The Derbyshire Dales Careline project offers free calls throughout the year to isolated or lonely older people.

A team of more than 60 volunteers make calls every day to people who take up the service.

The money will enable the scheme to be extended into Uttoxeter.

"We cover around 82 villages," said Jane Fulham, the acting manager.

"A lot of our members are quite isolated and vulnerable and they may not get to speak to anybody else that day.

"The service increases their confidence. People like hearing a voice they know at the end of the phone. It gives them somebody to talk to who's interested in them and it helps them to live independently."

People can choose whether they want to receive calls daily or weekly and the time and length of the call.

As well as helping to combat loneliness, the service can also function as an "early-warning system", Ms Fulham said.

"We aim to avoid crisis situations," she said.

"Follow-up telephone calls are often made to friends and family members if we are unable to reach the person, in case of any problems."

Mick McGrath, a spokesperson for the Big Lottery Fund, said its money was aimed at reaching those most in need of support.

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