A volunteer from Huntingdon is preparing to take on Mount Snowdon in a bid to raise funds for a charity that supports lonely older people in the community.

Nicola Dias. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDNicola Dias. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Nicola Dias, 44, is a volunteer for Contact the Elderly, a national charity which has been dedicated to tackling loneliness and isolation among older people for more than 50 years. The charity provides monthly social gatherings for over 75s who live alone and last year it supported 6,223 older guests in 813 groups across the UK.

There are 10 guests in the Huntingdon and St Ives group, which meets on the second Sunday of every month at a different volunteer's home for afternoon tea, cake and conversation. Nicola has volunteered as both a host and a driver since the group was launched, accompanying guests to and from the gatherings each month.

Nicola, who will tackle Mount Snowdon on Saturday, said: "Although I like to indulge in a spot of cake-baking fundraising, it's time to up the bar! A few of my friends will know that I have patellofemoral pain syndrome, so this trek will also be a personal challenge for me - the going down especially."

She added: "We are currently raising funds for 2019-2020 - the more support we receive, the greater our future chances are of forming a second or even a third local group to support isolated older people in the area and thereby eliminating the need for a waiting list."

The group currently needs more volunteer drivers to accompany older guests to the gatherings each month. Hosts are also required - anyone who can welcome a small party of guests into their home once or twice a year can apply.

Alex Berwick, Contact the Elderly's development officer, said: "We're really grateful to Nicola for fundraising for Contact the Elderly and for everything else that she does for the Huntingdon and St Ives group to ensure that the group runs smoothly and that our older guests are taken care of.

"I wish Nicola all the best for her trek and urge the local community to help her boost her fundraising total if they are able to. Additionally, if you're able to spare a few hours a month or a year, please get in touch as we'd love to hear from you."

To find out more about the Mount Snowdon trek and to donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nicola-dias.

If you are interested in volunteering for Contact the Elderly visit www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk or by calling 0800 716 543.