The Silver Line – helpline for Older People
This will be a pilot for three months in Manchester and the Isle of Man. The pilots are funded through Comic Relief. Depending on the outcome of these pilots the Trustees hope to launch a National Helpline by the Summer 2013.Esther Rantzen is Chair of the Trustees. The Helpline is for older people (no age limit) in the area, who seek information, advice and friendship.
The publicity says ‘it will provide sign-posting to the rich variety of existing organisations offering support for older people’ and ‘ a telephone befriending service for those who are isolated or lonely, and it will help those who may be suffering abuse or neglect.The trained volunteers who will answer the phones are from the Midlands and are mainly working for the WRVS (and therefore have already been CRB checked) The phone line is free.
MACC welcomes the initiative to develop a national line next year (similar to Childline) and that the Trustees have chosen Manchester as one of two pilot sites.However, we have concerns for the older people who may use the service locally:
• Volunteers from the Midlands will not have local knowledge and VCS
organisations in Manchester have not been contacted about the support/services they can provide or their capacity to deal with referrals.
• Two weeks before the planned launch Macc received enquiries from Manchester City Council about available services and support for older people from the VCS in Manchester. We now understand that this was preparation for the launch of the Silver Line.In fairness to the City Council, we understand that they have only known about Silver Line for three weeks
• There could be confusion between the Silver service of Age Concern Manchester and the Silver Line?
• How much understanding is there about the diverse communities of Manchester – languages and culture, understanding and beliefs?
These are our views and concerns and have not been discussed with the Manchester Older Peoples Network.