The Silver Line Helpline - supporting older people

If you need information, advice or friendship and you live in the North West of England, you should ring 0800 328 8888. This number is available 24 hours and is open every day.

All of us here at Home Instead Senior Care in Saddleworth and Oldham are delighted that the pilot for the Silver Line Helpline for older people, that was launched in November 2012 in the Isle of Man and Manchester has been extended across the wider North West region. Comic Relief has enabled the Helpline to not only cover a wider area, but the line is now also available until at least the end of April 2013.

The Helpline is looking to be a success and is proving to be much needed and a very worthwhile service. The pilot is providing the team behind the Helpline to gain as much information and feedback as possible, with the intention of launching nationwide.

It is the brain child of Esther Rantzen, who was responsible for establishing Childline nearly 30 years ago. This new helpline which is an advisory, information and befriending service is designed to help older people

Ms Rantzen who herself has spoken about the loneliness and isolation she has experienced since her husband passed away, has introduced the Silver Line to provide support for older people in the following ways:

• 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 and if appropriate to transfer them to specialist services such as Action on Elder Abuse, in order to protect them from harm.

We have been supporting the service by distributing leaflets in our local area and raising awareness of the Silver Line Helpline. We know that they will be evaluating demand and deciding how the national service could look and work, so urge everyone to spread the word to help to ensure its future. 

The Silver Line Helpline has received initial funding from Comic Relief and BT but they will need to fundraise and look for donations to keep up the good work.

If the pilot is successful, The Silver Line Helpline has plans to be rolled out around the UK in autumn 2013, further details can be found at www.thesilverline.org.uk

www.thesilverline.org.uk/in-the-media