A Moray charity is appealing for kind-hearted volunteers to offer the gift of friendship to some of the area’s lonelier residents.
Learning disability group Inspire is encouraging good Samaritans across the region to take part in its befriending programme.
The charity says volunteers can commit as little or as much time as they are able to give, and will be matched with a person who has similar interests to themselves.
Typical outings enjoyed by pairs involved in the project include trips to the cinema, days out in the park and even a simple
cup of tea.
One of the scheme’s beneficiaries, Linda Eddie, said that since becoming pals with volunteer Fiona Bond her life has improved drastically.
Ms Eddie, who has learning difficulties, said her friendship with Ms Gordon allowed her to take part in routine social rituals she may not otherwise be able to sample.
She said: “I love having a befriender because it is a much freer relationship than the one I have with my support staff, we can even go out for a drink together if we want.
“I’ve done loads of different things with my befriender, like a Race for Life, eating out and watching horror films – which my support staff are too scared to do with me.
“I would recommend for anyone to have a befriender as it has brought me a lot of happiness.”
Training courses will be available to volunteer befrienders, and all applicants will be subject to police checks.
A spokeswoman for the charity added: “Becoming a befriender can make a real positive difference in the lives of the people supported by Inspire, as well as offering volunteers a new life experience and the chance to give back.”
Interested individuals should contact Victoria Matthew, Inspire’s volunteer coordinator, on 01224 280005 or e-mail