A HALSTEAD building society is ramping up its efforts to support vulnerable residents with a new volunteering scheme.

The Saffron Building Society, which has a branch on the High Street, has teamed up with a national volunteer support service - onHand.

As a result, Saffron has launched a branch referral scheme in a bid to help vulnerable residents in Halstead.

The referral scheme will allow branch employees, members, and residents to nominate someone they feel requires support directly from a Saffron branch.

Known as ‘missions’, the volunteer work will help residents tasks like doing someone’s weekly shop and chatting to an isolated person.

Community business partner at Saffron, Claire Hunnable said: “I am so pleased we have been able to partner with onHand as part of our ongoing community work.

“Our staff have been quick to get involved with missions and have reaped the rewards that come from helping someone in need. This next step is to identify the people that can benefit from the volunteers on the onHand app, and further support our amazing communities in the areas of our branches.”

t onHand CEO Sanjay Lobo added: “During the pandemic, levels of loneliness have risen to an all-time high.

“However, the care crisis was already here pre-covid.

“There are 1.4 million chronically lonely older people in the UK, with over half of all people aged 75+ living alone (Age UK).

“In addition, families are struggling to manage care for their loved ones, which leaves a heavy reliance on expensive professional care, even for basic needs like shopping and companionship.

“Our partnerships with organisations like Saffron Building Society are vital to support local communities and also engage employees with the causes that matter the most to them.

“It’s brilliant to see Saffron go one step further by taking referrals in their branches.

“This can provide additional support to those who may not know where to turn to for help with simple tasks.”