Esther Rantzen joins volunteers to mark helpline success

Party: Esther Rantzen with staff and volunteers from the helpline

Party: Esther Rantzen with staff and volunteers from the helpline

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The team behind a helpline for lonely and isolated older people has been visited by its founder Esther Rantzen MBE.

It is a year since The Silver Line was launched and it has taken thousands of calls since then.

To mark the first birthday Esther and Silver Line chief executive Sophie Andrews 
visited the organisation’s base at Wesham Park Hospital in Wesham, near Preston.

The aim of the day was to thank staff for their hard work and commitment.

Esther Rantzen says: “Our volunteer Silver Line Friends can change peoples lives for the better and make them feel like they are loved and appreciated.

“For some lonely older people, it can literally be life changing and make a real difference to the way they feel about themselves.

“The friendships can also be life enhancing for volunteers and many of our Silver Line Friends say they get as much out of the telephone friendship as the older person they speak to every week.”

The Silver Line’s ambition was to answer 250,000 calls from lonely and isolated older people in the first 12 months but the helpline has already taken more than 261,000 calls and arranged for 1,000 older people to receive regular friendship calls from volunteer Silver Line Friends.

So far 700 volunteers have been recruited and trained over this first year and there is a list of more than 1100 older people waiting for their own Silver Line Friend.

After Esther and Sophie have visited the team at 10am and judged a Bake-off they travelled to Ribby Hall where they attended a party for 60 staff and volunteers which paid for by a supporter of the charity. The Helpline on 0800 4 70 80 90.