A CLYDEBANK charity’s volunteers have teamed up to bring some Valentine’s Day cheer to the area’s older and more isolated residents.

Golden Friendships teamed up with Strathmore Foods and Age Scotland to donate 1,000 meals with greetings cards to community groups, housing associations and elderly individuals across Clydebank and the surrounding area.

Jim McLaren, the manager of Golden Friendships, welcomed hundreds of older people and those with disabilities to the charity’s base in Dalmuir each week before the pandemic, but has now moved to offering virtual activities and support.

Last year, Golden Friendships distributed 16,400 packed lunches to local people who would normally attend lunch clubs.

Jim said: “This donation is fantastic and we hope it will brighten people’s day.

“We have so many people who are feeling lonely and really missing human contact now.

“It’s not just about the food – many are really happy just to have that chat on the doorstep and connect with somebody.

“During the first lockdown, we had lovely weather and everyone was out in their gardens. But this time it’s completely different. People are stuck in their house and their mental health is suffering.

“Many of them don’t even have family members or neighbours who call to check on them.

“We’ve had a wonderful response from volunteers and groups to the donation, and we’re looking forward to putting a smile on people’s faces.”

Brian Sloan, chief executive of Age Scotland, said: “We’re extremely grateful to Strathmore Foods for their generosity, as well as the team from the Golden Friendships Community Hall.

“They have been doing a wonderful job throughout the pandemic, delivering food and friendship and making sure no one is forgotten about.

“This can be an especially difficult time of year for older people on their own, and the pandemic has only made this worse.

“Loneliness was already a huge problem in Scotland, but now hundreds of thousands of older people are feeling more isolated than ever before.

“There’s no doubt that Covid-19 has taken a huge toll on older people’s emotional health and well-being.

“While the vaccine is a light at the end of the tunnel, a return to normal life still seems a long way off.

“Something as simple as a meal and a friendly chat on the doorstep can make a big difference to someone who is feeling alone.”