ROSSENDALE Hospice is seeking volunteer befrienders.

The aim of the service, which has run for five years, is to reduce social isolation for people in the borough who are elderly or have health problems, or their carers.

The scheme matches each person with a volunteer befriender who can visit regularly to provide some company and, in some cases, assistance with accessing particular interest groups or sources of support.

The service is for people who are registered with a Rossendale GP practice and are aged 75 or over, have a life-limiting illness or have a long-term condition.

Irene Smith, chief officer at the hospice, in Bacup Road, Rawtenstall, said: “You don’t need any special qualifications to become a befriender.

“For those people who want to volunteer, they will be given training by an experienced befriending co-ordinator.

"You will learn how to listen in a caring and non-judgemental way," she added.

"While being a befriender can be extremely rewarding it can also at times be emotionally tough.