The Silver Line is the UK's only free, confidential, 24-hour helpline for lonely and vulnerable older people. It offers information, friendship and advice and is available every single day and night of the year.
Launched by Dame Esther Rantzen in November 2013, the charity has received over 1.75 million calls from desperately lonely people who are bereaved, caring for a partner, or are housebound through illness or disablity. Over 4,000 volunteers have been recruited and trained to call older people regularly each week for a chat, or to write letters twice a month.
Loneliness has become a silent epidemic which carries a stigma, and older people are reluctant to admit to feeling it because they don't want to be "a burden". It is not only painful, but has a negative impact on health. Over half of callers have no-one else at all to speak to, and more than two-thirds call during evenings and weekends, when other helplines and services are closed. Some people call simply to say "goodnight" to someone.
The Silver Line has uncovered an unmet need, and the response has been overwhelming. Many callers tell the charity that they are "a lifeline". One recent caller said, "I don't ever have to be on my own anymore," and another told said "I feel that my life has begun again".
Funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery will help to ensure that The Silver Line can continue to answer every single call, day or night.