KIND-hearted villagers are reaching out to their neighbours in need with a new venture being launched tomorrow (Friday).

From practical help such as picking up prescriptions and shopping - to sharing a cuppa with someone housebound and lonely - the Care in the Community project has been designed to "enable everyone in Levens to know they are valued, by someone being there when needed".

Organisers have delivered a leaflet to every household in the village asking people what kind of help they would welcome and what skills they could share. The response so far has been "so very encouraging", said Levens resident Irene McKay, with lots of completed forms collected at St John's Church, Levens Methodist Church, the village shop and Linda's hairdressing salon.

"The idea began after starting the community coffee shop, opened in Levens village with the post office service," explained Irene, a Methodist preacher.

"A group of people in the village from different church and faith traditions were concerned to develop a Care in the Community scheme for the village, to offer support to our neighbours.

"Needs can arise because of different reasons: a very limited bus service, living alone, isolation from family support networks, illness, limited mobility. We felt it should be possible to help each other if we need shopping, a prescription, a lift to the doctor, a friend to talk to, sudden childcare needs, etc."

Once the finishing touches have been put to the scheme, a mobile number will be advertised in the village for people to call in times of need. The phone will be held on a rota by different people with a list of villagers who are willing to do "little kindnesses", such as doing a bit of housework for someone who is ill, or offering a lift to the doctors.

Levens Methodist Church is the venue for tomorrow's launch, and Irene said everyone is warmly welcome to come along and share ideas over a cup of tea and coffee, from 2pm to 4.30pm. She added: "Already the responses of generous offers of support mean Care in the Community is well on its way."