DO you have an old smartphone you no longer use?

Well, if so, a Somerset charity would like to hear from you.

CCS (The Community Council for Somerset) is calling on generous local people to donate their unused smartphones to help tackle loneliness and isolation in the county.

According to the Office of National Statistics, in the first month of lockdown, 5% of people said they feel lonely “often or always” - around 2.6 million people across the UK.

For vulnerable people, many of whom have become increasingly isolated during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, a smartphone can help with access to home shopping, helplines and keeping in touch with friends and family.

Thanks to a very generous donation of smartphones by the Rotary Club of Taunton, CCS Agents have been able to support those who are in urgent need of a means of communication in the Taunton Deane area.

Now, the charity would like to extend the scheme county-wide.

Kizzy Marshall, CCS Community Agent for the Mendip area, said: "Please support us in our quest to combat loneliness within our Somerset communities.

"If you have a smartphone that is in a used but good condition, lying around in a drawer, please donate it to us.

"We will refurbish the phone, including removing any personal data. We’ll then provide the new owner with a SIM card and we’ll support them to use the phone with video tutorials and by installing apps that will help them to keep in touch with their loved ones."

Yeovil Express:

Since the start of the lockdown, CCS Village, Community and Carers Agents have responded to more than 61,000 community support activities.

CCS would like to thank all the generous businesses and volunteers who have helped to support vulnerable people across Somerset during the Covid-19 crisis. Donations have included everything from books to bicycles, ready meals, paint and dog food.

Raj Singh, CCS deputy chief executive, said: “Please donate a working smartphone to individuals who are struggling with social isolation in the current crisis.

"We have an uncertain winter ahead. Shorter days and worsening weather conditions will make meeting up outdoors much harder.

"Technology will be a lifeline to those individuals who are struggling with social isolation, helping them to safely stay connected with their loved ones and their local community.

"Let us re-home your old working smartphone to support those in our communities who are most in need.”

If you have a smartphone you would like to donate, email Kizzy@somersetrcc.org.uk or call 07946 461510.

Anyone in Somerset in need of support can contact CCS on 01823 331222, or visit www.ccslovesomerset.org to request a call back.

Meanwhile, the CCS Talking Cafés, live on Facebook every weekday at 11am, are open to all and provide company, advice and ideas. Those wishing to take part can should visit www.facebook.com/talkingcafesomerset.