Palma.—Howard explained that there are a growing number of British expatriates on the island that are in their latter years and often have no one to talk to while there are others who have quite serious issues an d need help but do not know who to turn to. The confidential phone line which is open on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7pm to 9pm at the moment, has now been operating for six months and is well established.

Howard said that he has a very dedicated and trained team of volunteers, an office which had been generously donated by a local company and backing from an international firm which guarantees that the service will operate for at least the next two years. Nomads also donated 250 euros to the cause. However, while the service is based in Pollensa and therefore tends to help people in the north east of the island, Howard wants to take the service island wide in order to offer a listening ear to the British expatriate community at large. “The idea came about one day when I was talking to the wife of Canon Smith's wife and we decided to set about getting the help line off the ground. But now that they've sadly had to leave for health reasons, I am coordinating the help line and it has developed extremely well thanks to the excellent support from the volunteers,” he said.

But, for Howard to take the help line island wide, he is going to need a small army of volunteers who are prepared to attend a very short training course which, he conducts, and then lend an ear to people who need someone to talk to just a few hours a week. Howard also wants to take the service on line because sometimes, people feel more comfortable writing down their problems than talking to a stranger, however well trained they are. “So, what I am trying to do now is raise awareness of the service through ESRA and other bodies and hold the odd coffee morning to engage with the community and hopefully pull in more volunteers which will enable us to slowly spread the service across the island,” he added. “What we don't want to do is let anybody down, be they in need of emotional support of are in ill health.” Contact 971 867 861