A Helensburgh charity is getting set to mark National Befriending Week by celebrating their volunteers.

Visiting Friends will mark the annual event, which runs from November 1-7, at three cafes across the area to encourage more residents to sign up.

They will also hold a coffee morning to cheer their current volunteers and show off the community spirit that is central to their work combatting loneliness and social isolation around Helensburgh and Lomond.

Special post boxes will be set up at the tearoom at Ardardan Estate near Cardross, Humbles Café in Colquhoun Square, and The Perch Café in Garelochhead.

There, customers can "post" coasters registering their interest in becoming a befriender or using the service.

READ MORE: Visiting Friends: Helensburgh charity finds life-long friendships

Jayne Burnett, manager of Visiting Friends, said: “We are so pleased to have the support of our lovely local cafes for Befriending Week.

"Cafes and tearooms are the heart of communities and give people the opportunity to have that essential, regular face-to-face contact.

"All the little conversations we have with people in shops, at bus stops, or the smile you might give to or receive from a passer-by, go towards making us feel better and connected.

"But of course some people can’t get out and about on their own, or are maybe even housebound – and that’s where having a befriender can make all the difference.

"Our volunteers are wonderful, kind people of all ages and backgrounds – they are the lifeblood of our charity and we cant thank them enough for their contributions.

"We’d love to hear from anyone who might be interested in volunteering with us.”

Helensburgh Advertiser: Debbie Beggs Visiting Friends Co-ordinator on the left and me Jayne Burnett ManagerDebbie Beggs Visiting Friends Co-ordinator on the left and me Jayne Burnett Manager (Image: Visiting Friends)

A celebratory coffee morning will be held on Saturday, November 4, from 10am to 12pm, at the Helensburgh Community Hub in East Princes Street to thank existing volunteers, as well as meet potential new ones.

Visiting Friends has been matching volunteers with new friends across Helensburgh and Lomond since 2013.

Its service is open to all adults (over 18 years of age) in the area – any individual, family or service can make a referral.

The charity's volunteers do not provide personal or medical care but are there to provide friendship and company.

Earlier this year the Advertiser met up with two Helensburgh residents - Irene MacPherson and Elaine Stoops - who became the closest of friends after Irene, who volunteers with Visiting Friends, was matched by the charity with Elaine's mum, Kathleen, then aged 95.

Another Visiting Friends volunteer, Jennifer Payne, said she has found a true friend in the five years since she was matched with Susannah.

She said: "We laugh a lot, put the world to rights, drink lots of tea and coffee and discuss crafts! The time we spend together just flies by.

"Over the five years we’ve been matched I feel we have truly become friends, and I value the time I spend with Susannah.

"Visiting Friends is very supportive of all the Friends. We go to regular coffee mornings and social events they organise, and Jayne and Debbie [Beggs, Visiting Friends' co-ordinator] are always available for a chat.

"I thoroughly recommend considering becoming a Friend and making a difference.”

Sue Aikman, from Ardardan Estate, said: "We are delighted to work with Visiting Friends as we realise that a lot of our customers come here for some company - and we are a place they come to feel safe and get a wee treat. That’s really important."

Find out more about Visiting Friends' services online at visitingfriends.org, by emailing info@visitingfriends.org or by calling the charity's East Clyde Street office on 01436 269336.