Hull woman meets volunteers who kept her company over the phone in lockdown

An 87-year-old woman from Hull has been united with volunteers who have been chatting with her over the phone during the various lockdowns.

Martha Barker had been unable to leave her home because of mobility problems and shielding, prompting her doctor to prescribe her phone calls through the Bransholme Chat initiative.

On her first day out of the house in 18 months, she met the people in person who she said were "unbelievable".

Martha said: "They don't know me, I'm at the end of the phone, little old lady, they don't know me, but they're the kindest people.

"I'm with them and they came today and picked me up, unbelievable... I can tell emotionally... yes because somebody cares, these people care."

Credit: ITV News

The Bransholme Chat initiative normally welcomes visitors to its shopping centre hub, but when people were told to stay at home, they took to the phone lines to help 40 households in the Hull area.

Organisers of the project worry that loneliness is on the rise.

Jennifer Halliwell, Engagement Coordinator of Bransholme Chat said: "Really important to keep human touch and communicating because when you're left on your own it can just be devastating for your mental health."

If you are worried about your mental health support and guidance resources can be found on the Britain Get Talking Website.