The Silver Line is pleased to announce that Chief Executive Sophie Andrews has been awarded an OBE in recognition of her contribution to services for older people in the New Year’s Honours List 2018.
Sophie Andrews was approached to set up The Silver Line by ChildLine founder Dame Esther Rantzen and was appointed as Chief Executive of The Silver Line in September 2012. She joined after having held the role of Head of Volunteering for the NSPCC, and has previous experience of working in senior management within call centres and elderly care and across the private, public and voluntary sectors for over 25 years.
She has overseen the charity’s development from a pilot project into a national institution in just five years. Within two months of taking up her role Sophie successfully launched a pilot scheme across the North West of England, subsequently securing the funding to launch The Silver Line helpline – the only free, national, confidential 24/7 helpline offering information, friendship and advice to older people – nationally in November 2013.
In just over four years since the national launch, and some 1.7 million calls later, The Silver Line is known to millions of older people and is firmly established as part of the support network for some of the most vulnerable members of our society. And the charity continues to witness extraordinary – and rising – demand for its services: December 2017 was its busiest month ever, with over 47,000 calls to the helpline.
Commenting on Sophie’s OBE, Dame Esther Rantzen, Founder and President of The Silver Line said:
“We are absolutely thrilled that Sophie’s achievement as the founding chief executive of The Silver Line has been recognised. She has created a fantastic team and a service which is already transforming lives.
“Over Christmas, The Silver Line was very often the only contact isolated and vulnerable older people had to prove that they are valued and remembered. I personally spoke to a number of our callers, and they were unanimous that whatever else is absent from their lives, The Silver Line is consistently supportive, and there for them around the clock – and makes them feel they are no longer alone.
“Sophie has dedicated herself to the welfare of older people who are all too often forgotten, and this honour is an acknowledgement of her unique passion and commitment.”
Patrick Geoghegan, The Silver Line’s Chair of Trustees added:
“I am absolutely delighted that Sophie Andrews has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours List and awarded an OBE. As Chair of The Silver Line I have worked with Sophie since her appointment as Chief Executive and have been amazed at how much our relatively young charity has achieved under her leadership.
“Sophie has done so much in promoting awareness of loneliness among many older people living in the UK. I call this the hidden epidemic facing our country and which I believe will have a major impact on our society if not addressed. She is also recognised by our staff and volunteers as a compassionate and caring leader who is always there to advise and support.
“Sophie recently said: “It’s hard to imagine a time when The Silver Line didn’t exist.” It’s hard to imagine how it would exist without Sophie.”