The Silver Line – the only free, 24-hour, national helpline for lonely and isolated older people open all year round – has revealed that December 2017 was the busiest in the charity’s 4-year history.
December 2017 was officially the busiest month in our four-year history. We received 47,318 calls – a rise of 10% on the previous year – with the majority of these between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. And the records continued into January as more than 4,000 extra helpline calls were received versus the same month last year.
Sophie Andrews, Chief Executive of The Silver Line said: “‘For many older people who are lonely and isolated, New Year is not a time for hope or New Year resolutions – but a time of reflection and memories of happier times, along with a sense of desperation as they look ahead to another lonely 12 months.
“At The Silver Line we can support them by being there 24/7. We can be there when they feel desperate and also on those lighter days when they might reminisce and laugh. Through our friendship service, the simple human connection can provide reassurance and confidential, unconditional support every day of the year.”
Sophie added: “In just over four years since we launched, The Silver Line helpline has taken more than 1.7 million calls from lonely and isolated older people. But we know we have only touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of reaching those that need us – over 80% of our more than 10,000 weekly callers are phoning us for the first time. Many of them refer to us as a ‘lifeline’.
“But the growth in demand for our service – which shows no sign of abating as we enter 2018 – in turn means that our operational costs rise too. Currently we need to raise around £15,000 per day in donations just to keep going. It’s the biggest challenge we face this year – and to ensure we can be there for some of the most vulnerable members of our society this time next year.”