Age Concern Barnstaple and District looks set to close its doors for good at the end of October unless some sort of rescue funding can be found.

The charity has sent a letter to health providers and other stakeholders saying it will be closing on October 31 and from now on is unable to accept new referrals for its services.

As well as social activities at its centre in Litchdon Street, the charity provides befriending and visiting services for elderly people to enable them to stay in their own homes.

It has been running for 25 years and director Andrea Scott told the Gazette it provided services for around 220 people every week, through a 70-strong team of volunteers.

She said: “At the moment it’s on the books that we are closing on October 31.

“But I am always forever the optimist that someone will come forward with some funding.

“We have literally run out of funds. Over the years we have been quite wealthy and have managed to collect money and find funding. In the last few years it’s become difficult because there are so many good charities and we are all looking for the same pot.”

Ms Scott said they had to post notice of the closure due to Charity Commission rules, but she remained hopeful a solution could be found and in the meantime they were trying to help clients find alternative services.

She added: “We are very sorry for the upset to our clients and indeed to our volunteers, to everybody involved.”

Barnstaple mayor Ian Roome said: “As soon as I was made aware of the possibility of Age Concern Barnstaple closing I had conversations with the commissioners at Devon County Council to say how vital a service this is in North Devon, which if it was to close would leave a lot of elderly people vulnerable.

“I have been assured there will be a meeting with Age Concern to see what can be done to ensure this service continues.

“I will be working with Age Concern to ensure it will not close, as I understand that at least 25 per cent of those that attend live with some sort of dementia and the majority of the clients they see are aged over 80.”