At the end of November 2012 we launched the Silver Line Helpline for older people. This is a pilot which that was initially launched in Manchester and the Isle of Man but has now extended across the North West Region and will now run over the Summer. We hope to launch our full, national service before Christmas 2013. Our number for the pilot is: 0800 328 8888
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are unable to print and wish to be sent leaflets or posters for distribution in your area. Otherwise please download from the links below:
An update on how it’s going so far….read our latest newsletter which now covers the NW region!
Everything you need to know:
How old do you have to be to ring The Silver Line?
Although we say it’s for older people, we don’t specify any particular age. If you think it’s for you, it’s for you.
What can I ring about?
Anything at all. We say “No question is too big, no problem is too small, no need to be alone”. We hope we will be able to refer you to exactly what you need – it could be a specialist advice line with information about benefits or grants, it could be an agency offering help with building repairs or gardening, it could be a charity with volunteers who can take you out or meet you in your own home. We don’t want to replicate the rich variety of projects and organisations that already exist in the community. But we know that they don’t always reach the older people who need them or would enjoy their activities so our job will be to sign-post and link our Silver Line callers to the appropriate organisations.
But aren’t you a befriending helpline?
Yes, that is a very important function of The Silver Line and we have therefore recruited volunteers to become Silver Line Friends. They will make free booked phone calls to anyone who rings The Silver Line wishing to make a new friend this way.
How do I contact The Silver Line? And when is it open?
If you need information, advice or friendship and you live in the North West you should ring 0800 328 8888. This number is available 24 hrs and is open every day, including Bank Holidays.
If you would like to contact The Silver Line in order to donate money to you can do so with BT My Donate, PayPal and Justgiving. Or you can text a donation.
If you would like to become a Silver Line befriender, email email@example.com or you can contact our office with any other query on (020) 7224 2020
Are you taking on volunteers at the moment?
Yes we are – if you would like to volunteer please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What qualifications will I need to be a Silver Line friend?
We ask for our 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. We know that 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.
Are you working with any other charities?
Yes, we are working with many of the major charities working in this sector as well as small local groups and projects. We want to be sure we have all the relevant charities and projects listed on our database, so that we can refer our Silver Line callers to them. If you work with a charity or other organisation and wish to be sure you are included on our referral database, please contact our office on (020) 7224 2020.
Who is funding you?
We are extremely fortunate in having received a donation from Comic Relief specifically to fund our pilot. In addition, BT has agreed to become a founding partner and we have several founding supporters many of whom are already working for older people in a number of different ways including care, insurance and other fields. Some of our supporters have given us gifts in kind such as pro-bono legal advice, accountancy and the use of premises. Members of the public who have read about The Silver Line and share our vision have also contributed most generously and we are deeply grateful to everyone. But at the moment we do not have sufficient funds to cover our national launch before Christmas, so all donations are very gratefully received.
Do you need more funds?
Yes we do, because we feel that this new Helpline will be able to transform lives and vastly improve the quality of life for many older people. Loneliness has become a modern epidemic, and, as Mother Theresa said, loneliness is the greatest poverty; it has been found to result in serious damage to older people’s health, as bad as smoking or obesity. So any donation you are able to give to The Silver Line Helpline will be used directly to help older people.
How will the public know your number?
We are printing and circulating leaflets containing our free phone number 0800 328 8888 across the North West region. In addition we are using local media to publicise our pilot.
Who are your team?
Our Board of Trustees are Colin Wagman, Professor Patrick Geoghegan OBE, Gary Fitzgerald, Su Sayer CBE, Lady Susan Chinn CBE, Paul Burstow MP, Dr Alex McMinn MBE and Jane Ashcroft. Our Chief Executive Officer is Sophie Andrews and her Executive Assistant is Louisa Dominguez. Our Director of Fundraising and Communications is Sarah Caplin. Our auditors are Lewis Golden.
What do you hope to learn from your pilot?
Our pilot is already teaching us so much. Firstly, it is helping us to assess the demand for the new helpline at all times of the day. We will discover whether there is indeed a stigma about admitting loneliness and if Silver Line callers who need practical information will also appreciate being put in touch with our Silver Line friends. We will discover whether The Silver Line needs to be open 24/7, and which are the most convenient times of day for our befriending services to operate. We may uncover cases of abuse and neglect and find ways of supporting older people who may be suffering in this way. And we will put many organisations in touch with each other so that we can all learn from each other. We hope also that by achieving a high profile when we launch our national service we will be able to provide a platform for older people so that their needs will become a national priority.
So, when will the service be rolled out nationally?
We hope to launch at the beginning of November 2013.
We are currently evaluating demand, and deciding how the national service should look and work. We are also fund-raising, because we know that we will need to raise significant resources to be able to roll out the service nationally.
So we will be developing various models in order to discover exactly what we will need, in terms of staff and volunteers, and the funds we will require. Then, assuming sufficient funds are raised, we would like to launch our national Helpline service before Christmas. So keep your eye on our website and the media – if all goes to plan we expect the launch to be very high profile, so that all the older people who may need us will know The Silver Line number and feel able to contact us for information, advice and friendship.