More than 100 volunteers giving nearly 6,000 minutes a week to lonely, isolated older people are being celebrated by a major Sheffield charity.

Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care (SCCCC) says there has never been a more important time to recognise the contribution of its army of volunteers, many of whom have been providing a vital lifeline to dozens of older people during the pandemic.

From food and prescription drop offs, to phone calls and pen pal letters, the charity is giving thanks to its 113 unpaid helpers who give their time freely to support their communities.

The majority of the charity’s volunteers are dedicated to its flagship Good Neighbour Scheme, with some on hand for its A&E to Home and Hospital to Home schemes and for ongoing fundraising and administration support.

Mark Storey, CEO at SCCCC, said: “Our volunteers are at the heart of SCCCC, they are crucial partners in our mission to help older people in the city. Last year, they carried out thousands of hours of friendly visiting to help combat loneliness and isolation among older people.

“The pandemic has caused many obstacles, but our volunteers have adapted well, replacing their weekly visits with telephone calls, staying in touch with their service user.

“We also launched our pen pal scheme and so far our volunteers have provided us with more than 170 items of correspondence which have made a big difference to older people feeling isolated while shielding.

“Without our volunteers, our charity would not be the charity we are today. We thank each and every one of them from the bottom of our hearts.”