A BEFRIENDING and shopping service set up to see vulnerable Chorley residents through the coronavirus crisis has transformed into a permanent support line.

Chorley Buddies began providing practical help within days of lockdown beginning in March.

Now it has joined forces with more than half a dozen other voluntary and faith groups to launch the Chorley Community Helpline.

Chorley Buddies’ founder Paul McBeth said: “It became clear as we got to know each other that there were an awful lot of things going on in Chorley that people should really know about – but it was actually quite difficult for residents to know where to go for what.

“We’re hoping that the new phone line will be a case of the sum of the parts being greater than the individual components.”

Even if the worst of the pandemic is over the potential fall-out from lockdown has prompted the launch of a new sister scheme, Active Buddies.

Mr McBeth said: “The idea is to encourage people out of the house – many won’t have left their homes since March and they have lost their rhythms and routines as a result.”

He added: “But it’s not just physical activities – we want people to start socialising again by joining groups and getting back into society.”

Residents can contact the Chorley Community Helpline for free on 0800 3688452.