Following the cancellation of events for the elderly across North Ayrshire, one former veteran is organising a series of ‘virtual hang outs’ to combat isolation and loneliness.

Suzanne Fernando MBE is calling on fellow veterans and elderly friends in North Ayrshire to join the calls, where up to 100 people can get together online and have a chat.

This follows calls from the government for all over-70s to try and limit social contact over the next few months in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

Mrs Fernando said: “We have had to cancel quite a few events for the older generation lately, so we thought the best thing to do would be to try and organise a facetime.

“Being a veteran myself, I know that you don’t have to be elderly to feel depressed or isolated, you can be any age.

“It’s really important to reach out to the community, especially those with mental health issues.

She added: “Without this many of our fellow veterans and elderly friends would have no face to face interaction at all, but now we can all enjoy getting together for a good old blether and catch up.

“There are so many people that can’t make coffee morning or meetings, this is the next best thing.”

The calls will also be used to spread the word about a scheme being run by Mrs Fernando and North Ayrshire Councillor Jim Montgomerie.

They are coordinating the delivery of food packets and toilet paper to those most in need across the three towns, thanks to donations from the community.

Mrs Fernando said: “There are so many elderly residents across North Ayrshire with low immune systems so their chance of contracting the virus is much higher.

“Many are too scared to go to the shops, don’t use the internet and need help.”

More information on the virtual veteran hang outs can be found by emailing or searching ‘VIRTUAL Veteran Hang Outs’ on Facebook.