GOOD friends are needed to help tackle loneliness and isolation in North Yorkshire.

An award-winning initiative that sees older and vulnerable people matched with volunteer ‘good friends’ from their community is expanding.

In Darlington, the Age UK project has matched more than 500 people in need with over 800 local residents and was recognised nationally with the LGC award for best Health and Social Care Project in 2015.

The Good Friends scheme is now launching in North Yorkshire, where it will be available to residents of Hambleton, Richmondshire and Craven.

Those who volunteer give up their time to help their new friends with a range of issues and help to complement the work done by authorities and other organisations.

The newly-launched chapter of the project will be funded by North Yorkshire County Council, with financial contributions from the area’s CCGs.

Cllr Caroline Dickinson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Public Health, Prevention and Supported Housing, said: “Helping people to strengthen their social networks to tackle loneliness and isolation is a priority for the County Council.

“Our investment in the award-winning Good Friends initiative will play an important part in the work that we, and our partners, are doing to help people stay well and live independently in their own communities for as long as possible”.

To sign up to be a Good Friend, visit or call 0300 30 20 100 to speak to a member of the team.