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A new scheme to offer lonely over-65s a regular chat has been welcomed by a leading charity.

TalkTalk's We'll Call You initiative has received support from Age Concern and Help the Aged, soon to be combined to become Age UK, which has suggested that the service will have a positive impact on many lives.

Michelle Mitchell, spokeswoman for the charity, told Sky News that living alone has become a "stark reality" for a number of over-65s in the UK, although many are still happy to live that way.

She added: "A weekly call from a friendly voice could be very beneficial, providing the person calling is fully trained to do so."

According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics, four million people over 65 now live alone, while there are about one in three single person households in the UK.

The biggest residential provider in the UK, TalkTalk recently also offered both subscribers and non-subscribers five free votes for ITV show Dancing on Ice.

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