OLDER people across Berkshire are being urged to join a pen pals scheme, as part of a campaign lead by a retirement housebuilder.

The housebuilder Mcarthy and Stone have launched the scheme to encourage older people to stop feeling lonely.

Mcarthy and Stones will match residents across Berkshire based on their hobbies and pair them with someone who is also looking for companionship.

Kevin Sims, regional sales and marketing director from McCarthy and Stone, said: “We understand that for a lot of older people who may be experiencing loneliness, opening up and sharing how they’re feeling with loved ones can be difficult.”

A recent study in 2018 revealed that 53 per cent of retirees in Berkshire often feel lonely and 55 per cent of them don’t receive calls or visits from family.

Mr Sims added: “There are also some members of the Berkshire community who can’t get and out about easily to meet new people, to visit family, and it is often these people who can feel the most alone.

"The aim of the pen pal scheme is to give over 60s who perhaps aren’t as social media savvy, another means to connect with people. It’s the opportunity to strike up new friendships and have someone they feel they can write to when they feel the need.”

McCarthy and Stone homeowner, Leslie Harpin from Hertford is already taking part in the scheme.

She said: “I wanted to become a pen pal so I could broaden my outlook on people and life in general.”

The pen pal scheme is open to anyone aged 60 and over, the closing date for applications is Sunday, March 31. For more information visit: https://www.mccarthyandstone.co.uk/pen-pals/.