People in Wem who are part of or have been part of the Royal Air Force are being encouraged to 'befriend' a volunteer to avoid feeling lonely.

The Royal Air Forces Association, the charity provides welfare support to serving and ex-RAF personnel and their dependants, has a befriending service with teams of specially-trained and dedicated members looking to speak to people in Wem.

The befrienders pay regular visits to their 'befriendees', giving them someone to talk to and look forward to seeing. Time is often spent reminiscing about life in the RAF and conquering loneliness.

Volunteers are able to provide support to them in re-establishing old connections or forming new ones with people in their local area, helping to establish a wider group of friends.

In 2017 alone, the Association responded to hundreds of appeals for befriending support, and the charity’s director of welfare and policy, Rory O’Connor, hopes the Wem area will see people benefitting from the scheme.

He said: “We know, from Office for National Statistics data, that five per cent of adults in England last year reported feeling lonely ‘often’ or ‘always’.

"Single or widowed people are at particular risk of experiencing loneliness more often, and we know that elderly people with reduced mobility can be hard-hit.

“Feelings of loneliness and isolation can be a serious issue for people who served in the RAF because, when they retire, they suddenly lose the camaraderie of being part of a close-knit community of colleagues.

“Our experience shows that our befriending scheme benefits everyone involved – our volunteers who take time out of their days love doing it, and 'befriendees' benefit hugely from the visits.

"It’s an extremely positive and far reaching scheme which we hope will help people to live a healthier and happier life.”

If you are serving in the RAF, have served, are a partner or know somebody who is feeling a little lonely, you can find out how they can help you by calling, during the week on 0800 018 2361, or visit