A CHARITY has launched an appeal for volunteers to help combat loneliness this Christmas.

Ryedale Carers Support is hoping to boost volunteer numbers through its Give a Gift of Time Christmas Appeal and help tackle loneliness among carers and the elderly.

Sarah Lally-Marley, community development worker, said she was keen to encourage people to consider using a small amount of their spare time to make a big difference to the lives of those at risk of loneliness and isolation.

“The winter months can be difficult for those who care for someone at home and older people who live on their own,” she said.

“The shorter days and colder weather can make it harder to get out and about and many feel increasingly lonely and isolated, particularly those living in rural areas with little or no access to public transport.

“Ryedale Carers Support works hard to tackle this problem by providing a free volunteer sitting service for carers and a volunteer visiting service for older people living on their own who would benefit from some regular company and a friendly face visiting them on a regular basis.

“As the demand for our services increases we are in desperate need of more volunteers who can spare a couple of hours a week or fortnight to enable us to ensure we can help everyone who approaches us for support.

“While everyone is busy compiling Christmas lists, we are asking people to consider giving a gift of time this winter – just a small amount of your time can provide a lifeline for the people we support.”

Sarah will be holding volunteer drop-in sessions at Malton library today (Wednesday) and Helmsley Community Library on Friday, from 10am to noon both days.

For more information, phone 01723 364808 or visit scarboroughsupportforcarers.org