The National Lottery Awards for All has given charity Age UK Bury a grant worth £9,832 to keep its Keeping In Touch telephone service running until March 2023.

Chief officer at Age UK Bury, Andy Hazeldine, explained that the service was set up during the first national lockdown in April 2020.

It responded to people who were living in extreme isolation and who were unable to see their family and friends.

He said: “We really believed that the need for telephone support would reduce as Covid-19 restrictions were lifted but instead, we have found many people are still struggling with a loss of confidence in leaving their home.

“Some have lost their partners and friends and have no one to meet up with. Others are experiencing problems with personal mobility, having spent so long at home.

“Our wonderful volunteers are currently supporting over 150 people a week, making over 200 phone calls.”

The feedback from the people who use the service shows how much it is valued.

One comment said: “It has been a pleasure to converse with everyone over the past year.

"You have all been brilliant, just to listen to me rambling on, when I have spent so many hours alone.”

Another said: “Without the calls, I would not be here today. I owe Age UK Bury so much, so when I am better, I would like to help with the calls next year.”

Andy Hazeldine said: “We are very grateful to the National Lottery Awards for All and everyone who buys a ticket, for enabling us to continue this much-needed and well-received service.”