A grant of £40,000 from the Harrogate and Rural District Care Commissiong Group (CCG) is helping tackle elderly loneliness and social isolation.
The money was aimed at volunteer projects taking on this social issue last September, and was awarded to the British Red Cross.
They have now started community connect schemes in Pateley Bridge, Masham, and Boroughbridge, bringing people together with groups and organisations that can help them.
British Red Cross business development manager April Baskind said: “Older people are vulnerable to loneliness due to loss of friends, family, mobility, and income, and that impacts upon social isolation and even health.
“Befriending and community connect volunteers can help connect people to social groups, and survival rates for elderly people who receive such services are much higher than those who don’t.
“We want people to be able to access things if they feel like they need a bit of support, to help them feel less lonely and isolated.
“What we are trying to do is get people the help they need in a crisis, even if that is an individual crisis.”
The Red Cross works with GP surgeries, who refer patients who then work with the team to set goals to make them feel more connected to their community.
British Red Cross service manager Colette Kemp said: “Our aim is to help people access support in their own communities which helps them live independently and this has been a real success.
“Initial figures show that there has already been a drop in the number of surgery visits. We believe this shows that people are able to access the support they need within their own community, rather than by visiting their GP.”
l Contact the British Red Cross coordinators in your area: Harrogate: Philippa Pennington on 07803661241; Pateley Bridge, Masham and surrounding villages: Paula Morris on 07834803002; Boroughbridge and surrounding villages: Jane Mosley on 07740422492; Wetherby and surrounding villages: Susanna Richardson on 07912080902.