The generous people of Devon have helped Age Concern Barnstaple well on the way to its target of £25,000 to save the service.

Age Concern Barnstaple volunteers Linda Pryor and Sandra Taylor say giving up your time to help others is rewarding. Picture: Tony GussinAge Concern Barnstaple volunteers Linda Pryor and Sandra Taylor say giving up your time to help others is rewarding. Picture: Tony Gussin

The online JustGiving appeal now stands at more than £10,000, including generous anonymous individual donations of £2,500 and £1,000 plus £4,950 pledged by Barnstaple town councillor community grants.

The service helps around 220 elderly people to stay in their own homes, but must raise £25,000 by January and there is still some way to go.

This week we meet some of the vital volunteers who form the backbone and lifeblood of the many services offered by the charity.

They do everything from visits to the elderly, gardening and shopping to medical appointment transport and drop in social events.

Age Concern Barnstaple volunteers, staff, trustees and mayor Ian Roome. Picture: Tony GussinAge Concern Barnstaple volunteers, staff, trustees and mayor Ian Roome. Picture: Tony Gussin

Sandra Taylor from Barnstaple has helped out at Age Concern for three years, initially helping out at Thursday coffee mornings but now speaking to clients weekly on the telephone.

She speaks to around 18 people a week, most of whom are housebound and her calls provide a vital point of contact as well as ensuring they are okay.

She said: "I have a lovely lady out on one of the farms and she is 100 in February - she's wonderful and always so cheery and happy and so grateful for the call.

"They don't have any family nearby so it's somebody to talk to and if they have any problems I can pass them on to another member of staff."

Linda Pryor runs the Monday Rainbow Club, a drop in whose ladies enjoy bingo, quizzes and afternoon tea.

She said: "It's social club and it gets them out of the house. It fills a void for us as well as them. I would miss them hugely and I am going to do more hours now that I am retired.

"As a volunteer you get as much out as you put in and that's what it's all about."

Age Concern Barnstaple director Andrea Scott said it had around 65-70 volunteers on the books at any one time, many of whom had been there for years and providing more than 300 hours of service each week.

She added: "They are the lifeblood of the organisation, they are the eyes and ears in the community and that vital link.

"They have a choice of the service they wish to provide and how many hours they want to do."

If you wish to donate go to www.justgiving.com/campaign/ageconcernbarnstaple or drop in to Age Concern Barnstaple at 1 Litchdon Street or call 01271 324488 to find out about volunteering opportunities.