Dame Esther Rantzen has joined forces with Age UK to help meet the growing demand for emotional support and befriending services among older people.
Her charity, The Silver Line, best known for its 24/7 helpline, will become a subsidiary of Age UK, with the aim of reaching more people and raising the donations on which it relies.
The Silver Line receives over 10,000 calls a week, and its befriending services support 2,000 older people, but demand is ever-increasing.
Dame Esther said: “Meeting the escalating demand and finding the funds to answer every call has been a constant and exhausting challenge and joining forces with Age UK is an exciting new chapter in the life of The Silver Line.
“It follows a very similar story to when we joined Childline with the NSPCC in 2005. Looking back that was the best decision we ever made, and that partnership enabled Childline to grow and develop in ways that would have been impossible had the charity remained on its own.”
The Silver Line recently restructured to help make its funding go further and its new partnership with Age UK aims to support its sustainability for the benefit of older people who rely on it.
Sophie Andrews, CEO of The Silver Line said, ““In a short space of time The Silver Line has become a lifeline for thousands of lonely and isolated older people across the UK. I started as The Silver Line’s first employee and I am immensely proud of what we have achieved and how the organisation has grown.
“Joining forces with Age UK marks a significant step forward for the charity, one which will give us the stability to continue to deliver our vital services and to grow sustainably. I am thankful to all our supporters, volunteers and staff, past and present, who have helped us reach this point. We will continue to rely on you all for support and look forward to embarking on the next phase of the charity’s journey alongside you.”
Steph Harland, CEO of Age UK said, “We are very excited about what this partnership means for older people. Age UK’s focus is on helping the older people who need us most, including the millions of older people experiencing loneliness and isolation. We can’t do this alone. By joining forces with The Silver Line we’ll strengthen our complementary services with the aim of helping more older people while making every penny of funding stretch as far as we can.”
Pictured from left: Sophie Andrews OBE, Dame Esther Rantzen, Steph Harland.