A DORCHESTER charity is looking to reach out to older people as statistics show the scale of isolation they face.

Age UK says shocking statistics revealed in national research shows around one million older people go a month without speaking to anyone.

Around half of all older people, five million, also consider the television as their main form of company.

Age UK Dorchester says it runs a Reach Out scheme to provide volunteers for older people who have become lonely and isolated.

This can happen for a variety of reasons including bereavement, ill health and a loss of confidence.

Lisa Holmes, head of care at Age UK Dorchester said: "Loneliness can be devastating and we all have a role to play in our local community in helping to ensure that older people feel included.

"We aim to provide volunteers to either accompany an older person to a local group or activity or visit them for a cup of tea and a chat.

“The biggest challenge we face is to be able to provide enough volunteers to meet this growing need.

"The volunteers we currently have tell us that they find their role very rewarding and can see the difference they make.”

One Reach Out volunteer said: "If I can get someone out and about, it can make a difference to them straight away.

"They feel like they are part of the world around them again.”

The scheme operates in the Dorchester, Bridport, Purbeck, Weymouth and Portland areas and Age UK Dorchester would like to hear from potential volunteers

Potential volunteers should enjoy meeting people, be a good listener and have about an hour a week to spare.

If you would like more information about volunteering for the Reach Out scheme, please contact Lisa Holmes at Age UK Dorchester on 01305 269444 or email lholmes@ageukdorchester.org.uk