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Building friendships to last

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Together with members, Lincolnshire Co-op is supporting social inclusion charities and local luncheon clubs through its Community Champions scheme. Every time you shop with your dividend card, a donation will be made. Colleague fundraising and the carrier bag levy also go into the pot, and the money raised will help these groups continue to brighten older people's lives.

One of the social inclusion charities being supported is Friendship at Home...

Loneliness is a problem for many people in Lincolnshire, however Friendship at Home has a winning formula. The charity is improving the lives of people in north-east Lincolnshire through a variety of ways, from weekly social activities and indoor exercise classes to one-to-one befriending and more.

Established 11 years ago, it now has more than 500 members over 60 who benefit from its work.

"A lot of people just want time and friendship," says Lyse Stephenson, the charity's Operations Manager (below).

"It takes a lot for someone to admit they're lonely; it's a really courageous thing to do."

Telephone and one-to-one befriending at home is particularly important for those in out-of-the-way villages, as they may struggle with transport and find themselves staying at home every day.

The charity has 115 local people who take time out of their day to be a familiar, friendly face to 75 older people who benefit from visits at home.

"Our members have led incredible lives and have amazing stories to tell. It's great when we match volunteers with members and see friendships develop," says Lyse.

"We have volunteers aged from 18 to 90. We honestly wouldn't be able to do the work we do without them."

Lyse Stephenson Operations Manager 6

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