Esther Rantzen, Chair of the Silver Line Trustees, together with officers from the Manchester City Council, today launched the Helpline for older people in Manchester. The telephone number is:
0800 328 8888 for advice, information and friendship.
The concerns raised in our previous blog were partly answered:
The trained volunteers based in the Midlands will be dealing with the 'befriending' side of the service and not the information and advice. There are trained volunteers based in Greater Manchester and yes, the pilot is now covering Greater Manchester.These volunteers have had safeguarding training from Manchester.
The Pilot has not contacted local Voluntary Sector providers of support and services in Manchester, except to invite them to the launch. The VCS may receive referrals if they are on the Silver Line's Database.
The concern was raised about volunteers being able to communicate and empathise with the many different communities of Manchester, but the audience was told that the Pilot could not afford at this stage to provide a telephone service in different languages.
We have proposed that a 'provider forum' be developed to advise the pilot. The need for the VCS in Manchester to find out if they are on the database is urgent. You may have already been informed? Does your organisation/group have the capacity to respond? Do you have the resources to feedback into the Pilot's evaluation process? Let us know at Macc : firstname.lastname@example.org
Macc has asked for the database and clarification on where the volunteers are coming from. We have also suggested to the CEO of Silver Line, Sophie Andrews and one of the Trustees that a local advisory group be set up asap.