TV presenter and charity campaigner Dame Esther Rantzen has issued a ‘rallying cry’ for volunteers to join The Silver Line’s Helpline Hub in Blackpool and support the charity she founded as it gears up for its busiest time of year.
With demand at an ‘overwhelming level’ the need for volunteers at the Amy Johnson Way call centre is greater than ever according to Dame Esther and she wants people living in and around Blackpool to help out.
Dame Esther said: “It is terribly sad that The Silver Line is inundated with calls at this time of year from older people who literally have nobody else to talk to, to share memories with, to wish them a happy Christmas.”
“I get letters from callers who tell me that phone conversations with our volunteers makes them feel valued again, as one gentleman put it, ‘part of the human race’ again.
“Offering a friendly word can make all the difference. Becoming a Silver Line volunteer means joining a team who love the experience, because they know they are making a huge difference to the lives of older people .”
The charity became a subsidiary of Age UK in October but the South Shore operation is continuing to operate a 24/7 call centre.
The charity receives around 10,000 calls a week and has taken more than 2.5 million of them since it launched in the resort six years ago.
Dame Esther added: “Whenever I visit our hub in Blackpool, the sound I hear is laughter. We lift the spirits of our callers, and in turn, they give us a real sense of achievement.”
Dame Esther said: “If you live in or around Blackpool and are interested in giving your time for a few hours on a regular basis during daytime hours to help lonely and isolated older people, please email: email@example.com or you can find out more online at www.thesilverline.org.uk/helpline-hub-volunteer/ and fill out an application form
“Across the UK there are thought to be around 1.2million chronically lonely older people. This number is expected to rise to two million by 2026 so the need for volunteers is greater than ever.”