BRIDGES Community Centre will receive £249,632 from the Big Lottery Fund for the continuation and extension of the current Community Connections befriending scheme.

The funding will pay for a project manager, three project coordinators, expenses and training for two years.

The funding will allow the project to build on the valuable work currently undertaken in the Monmouth, Chepstow, Raglan, Usk and Caldicot areas and be extended to cover the whole of the county, including Abergavenny and the villages in the north of Monmouthshire.

The befriending scheme will continue to recruit and train volunteers to support older people at risk of social isolation and loneliness by visiting them on a regular basis and encouraging them to take part in social activities.

Centre Director Mark Walton said: “This grant is a tribute to the outstanding hard work and dedication of our current Community Connections team, led by Miranda Thomason.

“It gives us the opportunity to consolidate and extend their activities and it also fits in extremely well with the volunteer coordination project which we have been asked to manage by Monmouthshire County Council.

“We expect that after a further two years, this work will be seen as an integral element of the community based approach which is currently being pioneered by the Social Services Department.”