A BEFRIENDING project has brought two Clackmannanshire ladies together to share a love of ballroom dancing.

Volunteering Matters have been working with the TV Licensing company to help tackle social isolation through weekly telly appointments.

Enjoying company and having something to look forward to can improve the quality of life for older people and can strengthen communities.

As winter approaches, Clacks residents are being encouraged to spare an hour each week to form a friendship over a shared interest.

Earlier this year, Audrey Biscotti, 53, decided to become a volunteer befriender and was matched with Mouyra Stirling, 88.

The two Alloa women became fast friends having bonded quickly over their love of Strictly Come Dancing.

Audrey said: "I decided to become a volunteer befriender because I want to give something back and I knew there was someone out there in need of someone to take time, to just chat, share a coffee or to take them out to events or run errands.

"Mouyra and I quickly hit it off and in our first meeting when we discovered a shared love of Strictly.

"Mouyra is an expert ballroom dancer so she shows me the moves and now because of her I know what a ‘fleckerl’ is.

"We are both avid fans of Strictly Come Dancing, and have lots to talk about as we often meet on a Saturday before the big show. Mouyra is also not-so-secretly in love with Brendan Cole."

The pair often go for a coffee together or meet just to have a chat.

Audrey added: "If you ask me why I enjoy it, well I have met a lovely lady who has lots of stories to tell of a time I don't know.

"I enjoy her company and we go to places I would never normally be, last week we were at a country dancing afternoon tea where she met old friends.

"Mouyra enjoys the company and the conversation and the chance to go somewhere new if she wants to, all of that along with the glitter and glam of our favourite programme.

"I think befriending can be a real benefit to both befriendee and volunteer alike and I’m glad I decided to get involved."

Oonagh Aitken, chief executive of Volunteering Matters, said the fact over 75s are eligible for a free TV licence is a major advantage to the befriending service.

She said: "In many cases volunteers tell us that television can be a great conversation starter and a way of finding common interests between generations.

"Throughout the UK, increasing numbers of older people are facing loneliness but this isn't inevitable. Volunteering your time and befriending really can improve the quality of life for older people and strengthen our communities."

Jason Hill, spokesperson for TV Licensing added: "Over 75s consume more TV each day than any other age group, so the weekly TV schedule can provide a great opportunity for volunteers to share their favourite regular programme in the company of an older person, particularly as winter draws in and great TV seasons begin.

"Volunteering Matters can help by matching up people wanting to help another person tackle loneliness and social isolation."

Those aged 75 and over can claim a free TV Licence for their main address, with more than four million people across the UK already enjoying the concession.