A LONELINESS charity in Kidderminster has been awarded £130,000 in National Lottery funding to help people struggling with isolation to make friends and lead happier lives.

The cash from the National Lottery's Community Fund will allow Simply Limitless, which is based in the old Bond Worth carpet factory in Puxton Lane, to continue its Optimistic Ageing project to provide one to one support to lonely people in the area, and also to purchase a minibus to help clients to access the centre.

Simply Limitless provides a holistic programme of groups and activities that tackle the growing problems of social isolation, which CEO Paul Raper describes as a "cruel and hidden epidemic".

The Optimistic Ageing project matches a person with a caseworker who, over a 12-week period, helps that person to identify areas of improvement and implement changes to their lifestyle.

It helps hundreds of people every week and the charity has been running for 18 years.

Mr Raper said: "This project will play a vital role in overcoming social isolation in Worcestershire and we are very thankful for the National Lottery and its players for making this happen.

"Optimistic Ageing is more than becoming someone’s friend, it’s about helping them to live a full and fulfilling life, whatever their age.

"We’re very excited by this project and are looking forward to helping more people."

The new minibus will be purpose-built to transport people with disabilities, and will also help people who don't have access to public transport.

For more information about the charity, visit simply-limitless.org.