An initiative where a storyteller phones elderly people who are feeling isolated during the pandemic to give them a "break in their day" has started in Co Wexford.

'Tale-a-phone Exchange’, which is part of Wexford County Council’s age-friendly programme and supported by the Government’s 'Keep Well’ campaign', will run every Wednesday - except St Patrick’s Day - until the end of March.

Under the initiative, elderly people in Co Wexford are contacted by storyteller Joe Brennan who has a 20-minute conversation and tells a story.  

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Mr Brennan, a storyteller with 20 years experience said: "The idea is that I call older people and we have a little aul chat. Out of that chat I pick a story to tell them.  

"This is important because people are feeling the isolation more in the lockdown this time round.

"From a few people that I have spoken to, they are just very fearful. It is horrible, they feel very trapped, and they are cut off."

Bernie Curtis, from Ardcandris in Barntown, was the first person to get a 'Tale-a-Phone Exchange' call this morning.

"For people on their own it's a blessing to get a call from somebody and talk to them and see how they are," Ms Curtis said.  

Wexford County Council said the initiative is an important element of its age-friendly activities.  

"It is to help with isolation and loneliness, but really it is to give people a break in their day - something to look forward to," Age Friendly programme manager Ann Marie Laffen said.  

The 'Tale-a-phone Exchange' calls are pre-arranged through Wexford County Council’s Age Friendly programme, which can be contacted on 053-9196680.

The calls are restricted to people within the county.