CHARITY Friend to Friend has signed up to our Wish scheme to boost help for the elderly in rural areas.

The charity aims to help elderly people have a better quality of life by combating loneliness and isolation. It targets those living in the rural and semi-rural areas of the Valleys in Huddersfield, who rarely go out to meet other people.

Friend to Friend was formed in Holmfirth in 1996 with just 12 members who hosted one lunch club a month.

Since their beginnings the charity has grown and grown.

Friend to Friend now holds 23 activities a month, which include, arts and crafts, armchair exercise, local history, a men’s group and walking and intergenerational work with two local schools.

The charity has almost 300 members whose average age is 83, while more than 50 volunteers give up their spare time to provide the activities and transport.

They now have groups in Denby Dale, Honley, Marsden, Meltham, Netherton and Holmfirth.

The charity has won several awards since it was formed including the Kirklees Volunteer Award for ‘Organisation of the Year’ which they won in 2009 and the Audit Commission Chairman’s Award.

Friend to Friend provides every member who requires it door to door transport.

The charity’s Linda Dunbar said: “A transport service for our members is vital and we rely on the goodwill of our volunteers as well as disabled accessible buses and taxis to provide this service, but it still costs around £8,500 a year to run.

“The Wish money would help us to continue to provide transport to our current group members as well as enable us to bring along new isolated older people to our activities.

“Transport is critical to our members and by providing door-to-door transport our members tell us this enables them to retain some independence as well as feeling completely safe.”

This vital aspect of Friend to Friend’s service is often the difference between older people remaining part of the local community as opposed to becoming isolated.

Increased isolation often results in the elderly suffering with decreasing physical and mental health.

The money would go towards making sure that the vital service is provided.