A SCHEME to help tackle loneliness in the elderly has started in Weston. 

People can now take part in an annual festive campaign where gifts are donated and distributed to older people who may not have a close support network of family this Christmas. 

From November 21 to December 16, home care company Home Instead will collect the gifts from its drop off point in Worle High Street from 8.30am to 5pm. 

It's the seventh year the 'be a Santa' initiative has run with hundreds of gifts helping older people every year. 

Nikki Gower, of Home Instead, said: "We always feel so emotional and in awe of people’s kindness and generosity when we run this scheme. And we know the people who receive the gifts really appreciate the gesture."

Last year, large gift parcels were handed to more than 70 lonely and isolated members of the community.

The home care company is now working with The Samaritans, Re-engage and Weston Hospital to identify individuals to donate gifts. 

If you know an older person who would benefit from a gift this Christmas, or would like some more information on how to get involved yourself, call 01934 526892 or visit www.homeinstead.co.uk/weston-super-mare.