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Helpline for Seniors

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Esther Rantzen 01

A new telephone helpline is being established, spearheaded by Esther Rantzen. It also has a website here: www.thesilverline.org.uk.11(. It is hoped that the helpline will be available before Christmas this year. But it needs volunteers to perform the key role of a 'Befriender'.

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;
  • and 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

BIG Lottery Fund granted them £5 million from their £20 million Dignity programme.

Silver Line aims to develop their pilot stage so that they can launch nationally before Christmas this year when older people are at their most vulnerable from loneliness and isolation (they need to raise another £1.5 million before then).

Until now there has not been a UK-wide, 24 hour umbrella organisation which links older people to support services in their local communities. In the same way that ChildLine, founded by Esther in 1986, helped abused children, The Silver Line will support older people who are experiencing abuse or neglect, and make sure they are protected.

If you would like to become a Silver Line befriender, email amy@thesilverline.org.uk or you can contact our office with any other query on (020) 7224 2020.

The organisers of the charity are asking for Silver Line friends to work in pairs from a location that is convenient to them. That location will need a landline and a computer, and both volunteers will need to be comfortable using both. In addition, they will need to be CRB checked. But the most crucial qualification is that they like people, especially older people, and that they enjoy having a friendly and interesting conversation on a regular basis with someone who may share some of their interests. This kind of conversation can transform the life of someone who may have become isolated and may not speak to anyone else all day or even all week.

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