A LONELINESS charity has been given a £22,000 boost.

Brighton-based Time To Talk Befriending has been given the Lottery money to expand its service of support in Worthing and Adur.

This will help it meet a surge in demand for its intergenerational befriending service during lockdown. In the past few months, the service has received more than four times the average number of referrals from older people struggling with isolation.

Volunteer Claire matched up to her “befriendee”, Cheryl, six years ago and continues to have a great bond.

She said: “Befriending is enriching, life-affirming and joyous, especially when I realised that my match had the same birthday as me, 30 years apart.

“We celebrate every year together and go out for some food. We’ve been friends through both of my pregnancies and she loves to see my sons too when it’s possible.

“Befriending has been one of the best volunteering projects I’ve ever been part of. You can form an amazing friendship with someone you may never have met otherwise and it is something you can continue with as long as you wish.”