A helpline to be used by older people if they are ordered to stay isolated by the Government is all ready to be put into action by the Slough and Berkshire East Age Concern charity.

Tereena Davies, chief executive, said that staff and volunteers had begun to discuss the project as soon as it became clear the Government was considering telling over 70s to stay isolated.

In response they have set up Hear For You - a call service for the elderly that will go live as soon as any official 'isolation period' comes into force.

She said: "I am not sure the Government has thought this through practically or emotionally - the sheer impact this will have on the elderly.

"We will be listening and offering emotional support, as well as organising help and practical support if needed.

"You can call us if you need a friendly chat or want some advice, or even to find out more about our other services. We can also call you to check how you are doing, so let us know if you would like us to do that too."

The lines will be open five days a week between 10am and 4.30pm. Encouraging words will be backed up by practical help if needed - everything from finding an emergency plumber or just doing some vital shopping.

The volunteers and staff manning them are all DBS checked to prove they are law abiding citizens and fully trained.

The service will start as soon as any official isolation period is announced.

The numbers are 01753 497877, 01753 497883, 01753 497888 or 01753 497889.

Ms Davies said the downturn in retail caused by the current crisis has already badly affected the charity's revenue.

The charity has 14 shops across Slough and the surrounding area. So financial donations from the public would be particularly welcomed at this challenging time so they can continue to provide this new service for as long as it is needed, while continuing with the other services it provides,

Donations would be welcome on the www.ageconcernsabe.org.uk or call Nicki on 01753 497887.