The Age Concern Barnstaple appeal is up and running but there is still along way to go to raise £25,000 by January to save the vital service.

Trustees from the charity would like to thank the people of North Devon for responding to the appeal, with around £4,000 raised so far.

This includes a range of donations both in person and online – see the link below – as well as grants made by the mayor of Barnstaple Ian Roome and several town councillors.

But if it does not raise this money it could be forced to close its doors for good by March 2019.

The services it offers make a real difference to the quality of life of around 220 elderly people in the town each week – and their carers.

Jean and Arthur Bennett say they have both benefitted so much from the help provided by their Age Concern volunteer Ruth.

Arthur, aged 87, is his wife’s full-time carer and Rita provides respite care for between one to three hours per week.

Jean, 84, lives with dementia and is housebound, but greatly enjoys Ruth’s visits, describing her as ‘a breath of fresh air’ and they do a lot of knitting together.

They have recently been making gift tags that have been sold for charity at Landkey café and Jean has shared many stories about life in Barnstaple during their chats.

For Arthur, it means he can still enjoy other aspects of his life, including cycling whenever he can and being a member of Barnstaple and St Petrock male voice choirs.

And in May, he even did a 15,000 foot parachute jump and raised £10,000 for both of the region’s hospices.

He said: “It has changed my life, if it wasn’t for Age Concern I wouldn’t be able to get out and have a life, it has made such a difference for both of us.

“Rita and Age Concern have been a godsend.”

The charity helps keep people independent and in their own homes by offering a range of services.

These include home help and visiting, transport to appointments, shopping and pension collections service as well as support for carers, a home from hospital service and social activities and coffee mornings.

If you can help the appeal, go to drop in to Age Concern Barnstaple at 1 Litchdon Street or call 01271 324488.