A voluntary group that organises day trips and dance session for elderly residents in the district is celebrating ten years of service.

Helpers at Voluntary Action Epping Forest’s Befriending Service have prevented thousands of pensioners becoming isolated from society in North Weald, Loughton and Waltham Abbey.

Every two weeks members enjoy daily outings including seaside trips afternoon teas, theatre shows and many activities held at weekly social clubs.

The family of one elderly resident, Peter, praised the service for changing his life around.

They said: “He was suffering from a number of health conditions which led him to become isolated and demotivated,

“Once at the club his whole persona changed. His face lit up and the twinkle returned to his eyes. Significantly, his memory improved too.”

Another woman, who did not want to be identified, also praised the care provided for her father, saying: “Since being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he started to get depressed,

“The service you are providing, collecting my father from the house, taking him to the club, entertaining him for the afternoon and bringing him safely home has made such a difference to his week. He really looks forward to his Wednesdays now.”

As well as home visits, VAEF’s Befriending Service also provides door to door transport and a minibus service to take members to as many events as possible.

For more information call 01992 910701 or visit vaef.org.uk.