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The Silver Line - Fighting Loneliness In Older People

By Katherine  |  11 Dec 2017 16:00:00

Image credit: Silverline

If you live alone and experience feelings of loneliness and isolation, The Silver Line helpline may be just what you need. It’s a phone line for older people living alone, designed to link you with support services in your local community and it has been rolled out across the UK. 
Silver Line is the result of an article written in August 2011 by Esther Rantzen CBE.  The SIlver Line website explains how Esther (who founded the children’s helpline ChildLine in 1986) wrote about the loneliness she experienced since being bereaved, and living alone:

She was overwhelmed by the huge response from older people who shared her experience.  In November 2011 she was invited to make a key-note speech at a conference, “Vital Connections”, jointly hosted by the Centre for Social Justice and the Campaign to End Loneliness.  There she came up with the idea of creating a helpline in order to support vulnerable older people, sign-post them to projects and services, break through the stigma of loneliness and isolation, and tackle the problems of abuse and neglect.

An initial grant of £50,000 was pledged as “seed money” by the Department of Health. A pilot was launched in November 2012, funded by Comic Relief.”(Extract from The Silver Line website)

More recently the service has received a 5 Million Pound grant from the BIG Lottery Fund.

The Silver Line’s Mission is to perform 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.

The signposting function will be undertaken by staff working from a very full database of local provision. The befriending function will be undertaken by trained volunteers.

The abuse and neglect prevention will involve calling upon the specialist support of organisations such as Action on Elder Abuse and Social Services, if appropriate.

If you’d like to know more, donate funds, offer to volunteer or find out when the service will be available in your area, contact

The Silver Line Helpline

Helpline: 0800 328 8888

Office Telephone: 020 7224 2020


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