Blackpool charity growth offers lifeline to older people

A charity helpline set up by Dame Esther Rantzen DBE to support lonely older people has moved into new premises to cope with the growing need for friendship and advice.

The Silver Line, founded in 2013 by the TV personality, offers regular contact to older people experiencing loneliness.

The charity – which received its one millionth call this summer - has expanded into new premises at Business First’s Blackpool business centre on Amy Johnson Way.

Latest figures show there are more than 11 million people over retirement age in the UK, which makes up 18.5% of the population. The Silver Line says more than half of all people over 75 live alone, with one in ten experiencing intense loneliness.

The charity offers a free, national, confidential helpline open 24/7 to provide information, support, friendship and advice. They also offer weekly friendship calls and letters, as well as group calls on a range of subjects to connect like-minded people.

Based in Blackpool, The Silver Line’s rapid growth meant they required a larger helpline centre to cope with the rising number of calls from older people in the UK.

CEO Sophie Andrews said: “We were keen to stay in Blackpool as it has proved a very successful base for us. Moving to the new office with Business First is an important part of being cost-effective and ensuring our future sustainability.

“The new office provides the extra space we needed and will become the main hub for our plans to involve volunteers in answering helpline calls in future, providing more opportunities for the local community to become further involved in our work. “Moving was a major undertaking as we have to keep going 24 hours a day, but we have had great support from Business First. The offices are modern with great transport links, good security and easy access.”