A befriending service run by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has been supporting adults with sight loss in Dorset and the south west for 20 years and is continuing to grow.

RNIB’s Talk and Support service invites blind and partially sighted people across the UK to socialise and build friendships over the phone. Sessions are led by trained staff or volunteers and 130 groups run every week on the same day and time, with people matched based on their age and group preferences.

The recent introduction of the new auto-dial connection platform, Twilio, has enabled the much-valued service to reach and support more than 900 people every week.

The growth of Talk and Support has also been supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery since 2018, with the money raised used to develop further projects to bring people together.

RNIB Wellbeing Services Manager, Hollie Barney, said: “We are delighted to be celebrating twenty years of bringing people together from different parts of the UK and trying to reduce isolation and loneliness amongst blind and partially sighted people.

“Alongside our fun quizzes and conversations, we’re excited to announce that in the new year Talk and Support will be welcoming back more specialist interest groups such as book club due to popular demand. I would like to invite people with sight loss who are interested in joining our befriending groups to please get in touch.”

To join an RNIB Talk and Support group, register your interest by visiting rnib.org.uk/talkandsupport or call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999.