A PIONEERING initiative to combat falls in elderly people will begin in Darwen at the end of the month.

Blackburn with Darwen Primary Trust will begin its 'Slipper Exchange' on March 27 with a number of Darwen volunteers who responded to requests from health bosses to get involved.

The £35,000 project will look at the effect falls can have on people's sense of well-being and will aim to develop and improve services in the area.

Volunteers over the age of 50 will work alongside a number a number of agencies, groups and organisations to help develop knowledge on falls. Between 1996 and 1998, Blackburn Royal Infirmary's A&E department reported 12 fatal falls, 129 serious falls and 319 minor falls.

The chosen group will meet in the Tower Function room of the Darwen Leisure Centre from 2.30 to 4.30pm.