By The Silverline team - 3rd June 2014 6:00am
Why does The Silver Line exist?
The statistics about older people and loneliness are frightening. More than half of all 75 year olds in the UK live alone and one in ten suffers "intense" loneliness but is reluctant to ask for help. In a poll conducted to mark the national launch of The Silver Line on 25 November 2013, 9 out of 10 older people told researchers that "a chat on the phone" is the most helpful solution when they feel lonely but 1 in 4 older people say they never or seldom have someone to chat to on the phone.
How The Silver Line was born
In August 2011, Esther Rantzen CBE (who founded the children's helpline ChildLine in 1986) wrote an article about the loneliness she has experienced since being bereaved, and living alone. She was overwhelmed by the huge response from older people who shared her experience. In November 2011 she was invited to make a key-note speech at a conference at which she came up with the idea of creating a helpline in order to support vulnerable older people, sign-post them to projects and services, break through the stigma of loneliness and isolation, and tackle the problems of abuse and neglect.
Following a successful pilot launch Silver Line was awarded a £5 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund in September 2013 to support part of the first two years operation. This grant allowed the Silver Line to launch in time for Christmas — often the loneliest time of year for older people.
The Silver Line Helpline provides three functions to support older people:
- a sign-posting service to link them into the many, varied services that exist around the country;
- a befriending service to combat loneliness;
- a means of empowering those who may be suffering abuse and neglect, if appropriate to transfer them to specialist services to protect them from harm
What is the Silver Line Helpline
The Silver Line is the confidential, free helpline for older people across the UK open every day and night of the year with phones manned by specially trained helpline staff.
Need help? Call us ANYTIME on: 0800 4 70 80 90
Who is it for?
The Silver Line is a helpline for older people — the Silver Generation. We have no strict age limits but most people we speak to are over 65. So, if you think it's for you, it's for you.
Are All Calls Free?
The Silver Line Helpline is free to callers.
We rely on charitable donations from organisations and individuals who care about the welfare and safety of older people to fund this vital new service.
Are all calls confidential?
The Silver Line is a confidential helpline.
Callers are free to express their feelings and describe their lives honestly, and can trust us to respect their privacy.
In cases of abuse or neglect, with the callers' permission, we will involve specialist safeguarding organisations such as Action on Elder Abuse or Social Services.
Silver Line Friends and Silver Circles
If callers would like to be put in touch with Silver Line Friends, they can receive a regular weekly friendship call or email. Or they may like to join a Silver Circle and take part in a regular group call on subjects that interest them.
Silver Line Friends are volunteers who have contacted The Silver Line because they enjoy talking to older people. They are vetted and trained, and work in pairs for safeguarding and support.
(Ed. So do mention this to anyone in our Community who you think might benefit from Silverline)