October's Featured Charity

October's Featured Charity 1 October 2012

October's featured charity is The Silver Line, a helpline for older people in the UK.

Loneliness carries a stigma, especially for an older generation too proud to ask for help.

By creating an anonymous helpline Silver Line hope break through the stigma of loneliness,and thus save lives and comfort and protect older people in need

The Silver Line Helpline, and on-line services, (1-2-1 chat, emails and message board) will provide 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 such as Action on Elder Abuse, in order to protect them from harm.


There are 10 million older people (over the age of 65) living in Britain today. Many of them (51 per cent of people over 75) are living alone. Those working in the statutory and the voluntary sector are deeply concerned about the impact of isolation and loneliness on older people, because it has been shown to shorten life, creating depression, hastening the onset of dementia, and causing physical effects such as malnutrition.

And yet there are many services around the country which could counteract these effects, if older people were linked into them. 40% of older people, according to a 2011 survey do not know where to turn.

THE HISTORY – How The Silver Line was born

In August 2011, Esther Rantzen (who founded the children’s helpline, ChildLine in 1986) wrote an article about the loneliness she has 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, break through the stigma of loneliness and isolation, and tackle the problems of abuse and neglect.

As a result, Paul Burstow, (the Minister of State for Care Services), hosted a round-table seminar on 1st February 2012, chaired by Esther Rantzen, at which many of the major voluntary organisations working with older people were represented, together with members of the statutory sector. All present were enthusiastic about the concept which was unanimously felt to fill a real need. A further meeting with Mr Burstow took place, and the Prime Minister was informed as to the planned creation of The Silver Line. An initial grant of £50,000 has been pledged as “seed money” by the Department of Health.they can break through the stigma of loneliness,and thus save lives and comfort and protect older people in need

For more information on this great charity please visit www.thesilverline.org.uk