Blackpool's The Silver Line charity taken over by Age UK but jobs are safe in the resort

Dame Esther Rantzen and Sophie Andrews OBE with staff at the Silver Line in 2014
Dame Esther Rantzen and Sophie Andrews OBE with staff at the Silver Line in 2014
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Blackpool-based charity The Silver Line has joined forces with national charity Age UK.

The Silver Line, a charity for older people set up by TV presenter Dame Esther Rantzen, is best known for its national 24/7 helpline which offers support and friendship for older people.

By joining forces, the ambition is to help more of the older people who most need the charitiy’s loneliness services. Its helpline receives more than 10,000 calls a week, and its befriending services support 2,000 older people.

The charities will ‘combine their strengths’ to enable The Silver Line to reach more people and to raise the much needed donations on which it relies, according to the charity.

The Silver Line, based on Amy Johnson Way, South Shore, will continue, becoming a subsidiary of Age UK.

The Silver Line's chief executive, Sophie Andrews OBE, reassured that jobs in Blackpool would be safe and they can continue to attract volunteers to join charity.

She said: “It’s really positive news for Blackpool and our helpline and we have no intention to close our offices down

“The Blackpool office is a 24/7 call operation and is different to Age UK’s call centre so we look forward to working together.

“We actually want to grown the service now which is great news for people in Blackpool and across the country.

“We are still in the process of bringing in volunteers to work alongside our staff and that still stands.”

There are around 100 paid staff at the Blackpool office.

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.”

Ms Andrews added: “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.”